Tyler Raeford, Woodwin Weeks

Tyler Raeford, a PCOM medical student, volunteered at Colquitt Regional Medical Center’s COVID-19 Vaccine Drive-Thru Clinic, drawing up doses of the vaccine under the supervision of Woodwin Weeks, D.O.

MOULTRIE, Ga. — One month after COVID-19 vaccines first arrived at Colquitt Regional Medical Center, the hospital is reporting good response, at least among health care professionals.

Roughly 99% of the hospital’s physicians have taken the vaccine, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

“This speaks volumes about their confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” said Jordan Hammack, Colquitt Regional’s communications coordinator.

As of Monday, the hospital had administered vaccines to 1,604 people, Hammack said.

When the vaccine first arrived Dec. 17, the only people who could get it were health care workers. Residents of longterm care facilities also qualified, but vaccinations at those facilities were overseen by the state Department of Public Health.

On Jan. 11, the hospital and other vaccine providers began vaccinating law enforcement, firefighters and individuals over age 65 and their caregivers.

“We are now hosting COVID-19 Vaccine Drive-Thru Clinics for Sterling Physician Group and Colquitt Regional patients,” Hammack said. “These vaccines are given by appointment only. We are contacting our patients over 65 years of age and scheduling appointments on their behalf. Individuals may also contact the Colquitt County Public Health Department at 229-352-6567. We are also able to answer questions on the Colquitt Regional COVID Hotline at 229-891-9380.”

The vaccine is in incredibly high demand nationwide, Hammack said. The hospital has received enough vaccine to cover its employees, she said, and it is continuing to receive more doses to vaccinate patients on a rolling basis.

“Our goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” she said. “We have developed a streamlined plan for administering doses to a large quantity of patients in a short amount of time via drive-thru vaccine clinic. This approach is very efficient and has received great feedback from our patients. We will continue to deliver vaccines in this manner as long as we have an adequate supply of the vaccine.”

The Southwest Georgia Public Health District — the branch of the state Department of Public Health that oversees county health departments in our region — has also implemented a vaccination plan. Health care workers began receiving vaccines through health departments about the same time as at the hospital. Health departments also started expanding the field of eligible patients on Jan. 11.

District Health Director Dr. Charles Ruis said the health district is doing far more vaccinations since Jan. 11. The agency is adding both volunteer and paid staff and they’ll be working extra hours to handle the influx, he said.

Health care workers, first responders and people over age 65 can make an appointment through the local health department, Ruis said. The Colquitt County Health Department can be reached at 229-589-8464.

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