Vaccine Scheduling for New Requests is Temporarily Paused. Get Local COVID-19 Information:
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The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

Bryan News


Volunteer for COVID-19 Vaccination Response

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is receiving offers from medical professionals and other individuals looking for ways to help with the COVID-19 vaccination response. An effective response relies on volunteers who are pre-credentialed and organized. Georgia Responds is Georgia’s health and medical volunteer program which matches the skills and credentials of medical and nonmedical volunteers to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.

Licensed medical volunteers including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and advanced EMS personnel (EMT Intermediate and above) may be used to administer vaccination. Nonmedical volunteers may be used in administrative roles such as registering individuals for vaccination, data input, language interpretation, other administrative areas as needed, and providing guidance and assistance at vaccination administration sites.

To volunteer, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/georgia-responds and click on the “Register Now” box. Registering only takes a few minutes and will connect you with . Prospective volunteers will be asked for their name, address, contact information and occupation type. In order to be eligible for some assignments, responders are encouraged to complete a profile summary, which includes skills and certifications, training, medical history, emergency contact and deployment preferences.

Once your skills and credentials are reviewed, you will be notified by a DPH representative.

Even as the COVID vaccine becomes available, all Georgians play a critical role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following guidance:

  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and others
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Follow the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in the Governor’s Executive Order

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

For information about COVID-19, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Health District Temporarily Pauses Scheduling for COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments; Public is Asked for Continued Patience as Vaccine Program Expands

Health Departments in all Coastal Health District counties have received an overwhelming response from residents ages 65 and older interested in COVID-19 vaccination. Based on the number of calls taken to date, health departments in all eight counties have enough requests to schedule appointments through February and, in some cases, into March. To ensure we have adequate vaccine to fulfill appointment requests, including second doses, the Coastal Health District has temporarily paused appointment scheduling for new requests. Individuals who are already on the list and awaiting call-back will still be given an appointment.

“Our health department staff is working hard to get thousands of people scheduled for vaccination, but we need to hit the pause button – at least for a little while – so we can manage the current volume of requests,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “It is also my sincere hope that in the very near future, more providers will have the vaccine so there are more places for folks to get vaccinated.”

Residents can go to covid19.gachd.org and register to be notified when appointments open back up. Registering online does not guarantee a vaccination appointment; it simply gives us a way to notify residents when the appointment process is back underway.

“We know people are frustrated because the process is moving more slowly than they would like, and if we could vaccinate everyone today, we’d do that. But your health departments are stretched thin and doing what they can to move forward,” said Davis. “We’re exploring ways to expand capacity, and we know more help will arrive when other local healthcare providers have vaccine to offer, too. In the meantime, please be patient and keep practicing the public health hygiene recommendations we know help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

DPH Launches COVID Vaccine Locator Ahead Of Phase 1A+ of Vaccine Administration

Jan. 10, 2021, Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is launching a COVID vaccine locator on the DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov. The tool allows users to search by county for a vaccine provider in their community, and provides location and contact information for the provider. This is not a centralized scheduling tool.

County health departments and private providers are included in the locator. Additional locations statewide will be added when providers are ready to safely administer vaccine, and as vaccine supply allows. All health departments and most other providers require appointments for vaccine administration. Because vaccine supply is limited, providers may not have immediate appointments available.

Effective tomorrow, Jan. 11, Georgia will be in phase 1A+ of vaccine administration. That phase includes: healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, laboratory technicians, environmental services, etc.); residents and staff of long-term care facilities; adults aged 65+ and their caregivers, as applicable; and law enforcement, firefighters, 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders.

The process of administering COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than other common vaccines, such as flu vaccine, and requires providers to have more resources available, including an area where individuals can be monitored for 15 minutes after being vaccinated. Many providers with vaccine are still vaccinating their own staffs and patients and are not open to the public for vaccination yet.

As both Pfizer and Moderna are able to ramp up production of vaccine in the coming weeks, supply should better meet demand for each phase of allocation and administration. Until that time, providers and the public are urged to be patient as we work together to get vaccine distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible.

All Georgians, including those who are vaccinated, are urged to continue to follow basic COVID-19 prevention measures: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and follow the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in the Governor’s Executive Order.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

COVID-19 Vaccination Expands to Adults 65+ and First Responders on Jan. 11

Update on 1/11/21:

To ensure we have adequate vaccine to fulfill appointment requests, including second doses, the Coastal Health District has temporarily paused appointment scheduling for new requests.

Individuals who are already in our system and awaiting call-back will still be given an appointment.

Click here for the latest vaccine information.


Beginning January 11th, COVID-19 vaccination in the Coastal Health District will be available to adults age 65 and older, their caregivers, and emergency first responders. Vaccination of healthcare workers is already underway and will continue. There is no cost for COVID-19 vaccination through public health.

All health departments in the 8-county district will begin scheduling vaccination appointments by phone on Thursday, January 7th. “We are very excited to start this next phase, and we expect a lot of phone calls,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “Supply is not going to meet demand right away, so we’re asking our communities for patience during this rollout.”

Hundreds of other healthcare providers across the state are also enrolling as vaccine providers. “This is a monumental effort, and one that can’t be accomplished through public health alone,” said Dr. Davis. “If you are in this expanded phase 1a group, you may also want to check with your pharmacy or doctor’s office to see if they’re offering vaccine as well.”

A list of telephone numbers for scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments in the Coastal Health District is available at gachd.org/covidvaccine/.

View our Frequently Asked Questions page for more details.

More Georgians to Become Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Governor Brian Kemp and Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., tonight announced plans to add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

Healthcare workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities are already in this highest priority group. The expanded administration of vaccine is expected to begin within the next two weeks provided there is adequate vaccine supply available.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritizing vaccination. States have the flexibility to tailor these recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccine.

“Following the expert guidance of Dr. Toomey, the CDC, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Georgia will move to expand Phase 1a vaccination criteria within the next two weeks to include the elderly, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders – provided the state continues to receive adequate vaccine supplies,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to monitor the administration efforts of our public health workers and partners in the private sector, and the supply chain of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to ensure eligible Georgians are vaccinated without delay.”

“Different areas of the state are completing Phase 1a at different times based on the number of healthcare workers and LTCF residents and staff they have to vaccinate,” said Commissioner Toomey. “This expansion of 1a eligible vaccination criteria will allow vaccine to be administered as quickly as possible to our most at-risk populations in terms of exposure, transmission and severity. It also gives healthcare providers and public health staff time to plan and work with local communities across the state to ensure safe and sufficient deployment of limited vaccine supplies.”

It is critical that even as vaccine becomes available to more people, all Georgians must continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. While the COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective in preventing illness in the individual being vaccinated, it is not yet known if the vaccine fully prevents person to person transmission or asymptomatic infections.

Public Health Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccination

Appointments Limited to Essential Services

As COVID-19 vaccine supplies increase in the Coastal Health District, the Chatham County Health Department is working to administer vaccines to eligible individuals as quickly as possible. To allow our staff to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, our health departments will shift to essential services only. Essential services include:

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Childhood immunizations required for school attendance
  • Infectious Disease Services (STD/TB/HIV)
  • Contraception services
  • Child dental services (Chatham County only)

Appointments are required for all services, and many existing appointments will be rescheduled. “All of the services we provide are important to people in our community, and we understand this is inconvenient,” says Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “But with limited staffing and resources, our focus must be on administration of this potentially life-saving vaccine.”

This change does not affect Environmental Health services or Vital Records. To make an appointment for essential services, contact your county health department.

COVID-19 vaccination is currently available only for phase 1a individuals, which includes frontline healthcare workers and the staff and residents of long-term care facilities. If you are a healthcare provider in need of vaccination, please fill out our provider survey at gachd.org/providersurvey/.

DPH Launches Vaccine Dashboard; Additional Vaccine Headed to Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is launching a vaccine dashboard that will track the number of providers enrolled to give vaccines, allocations and shipments from vaccine manufacturers, and vaccines administered. The dashboard will reflect the previous day’s totals, and will be updated Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. The dashboard can be found on the DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov.

The Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization to Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 18, 2020. Georgia’s first allocation of Moderna vaccine is 174,000 doses and shipments are expected to begin arriving today through Wednesday. These shipments will be sent directly to providers.

DPH is also anticipating a second allocation of 60,000 Pfizer vaccine doses this week of which 20,000 will be set aside for long-term care facilities, specifically skilled nursing facilities, to begin vaccination Dec. 28. Most long-term care facilities in Georgia are working with CVS and Walgreens on vaccine administration to residents and staff.

It is important to note that Pfizer only ships Sunday through Thursday to avoid vaccine arriving over the weekend when some facilities are closed and to avoid issues for facilities without ultracold storage that are using dry ice for temperature control. The remaining 10,000 doses of vaccine from the first Pfizer allocation of 84,000 doses will arrive at facilities today.

There are more than 537,000 healthcare workers in Georgia, and as of Friday, the state had received approximately 72,000 doses of vaccine. With the expected Moderna shipment and second allocation of Pfizer vaccine, that number will more than quadruple over the next several days, providing greater access to vaccine for more healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

It is up to each provider to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for prioritizing vaccination among their staff, as well as adhering to the vaccine provider agreement they signed when they enrolled as a provider. This will help ensure that vaccine is administered first to those healthcare workers in direct contact with COVID-19 patients or those who handle COVID-19 materials.

As both Pfizer and Moderna are able to ramp up production of vaccine in the coming days and weeks, supply should better meet demand for each phase of allocation and administration. Until that time, providers and the public are urged to be patient as we work together to get vaccine distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible.

The criteria for allocating vaccine is based, first and foremost, on supply and shipping, neither of which DPH controls. DPH does use the following criteria for allocation of vaccine to providers:

  • Number of individuals within a defined group (phase) to be immunized
  • Previous allocations of vaccine doses received
  • Number of doses used from previous allocation
  • Ultracold storage capacity and ability to use large number of doses versus smaller may determine Pfizer versus Moderna allocation
  • Geographic considerations and access in rural/underserved areas of Georgia

Healthcare workers have several options for getting vaccinated:

  • Health care workers affiliated with a health care system (hospital, clinic or private practice) or pharmacy should contact their respective facilities about the process for vaccinating eligible employees.
  • Health care workers with access to a community hospital or pharmacy can seek vaccination there.
  • Health care workers without access to these facilities – including those who have started the enrollment process to become a COVID-19 vaccine administration site but have not yet been approved – should contact their district public health office for vaccination.

All Georgians are urged to continue to follow basic COVID-19 prevention measures: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and follow the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in the Governor’s Executive Order.

First Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Georgia; 5,850 Initial Doses in Coastal Health District

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) today received the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine for administration in Georgia. Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Coastal Georgia at two public health locations with ultracold freezers required for storage and temperature control of the vaccine. Additional shipments of vaccine are expected later this week at facilities in other parts of the state, including metro Atlanta.

Today’s shipments contain 5,850 doses of vaccine for individuals to receive their first dose of the two dose series. The Coastal Health District is fine-tuning the logistics of thawing, preparing and administering the vaccine, and will begin vaccinating front line public health staff this afternoon. A broader vaccination program for high priority individuals in Chatham, Glynn, and surrounding counties will begin tomorrow. The district will also make vaccine available to local hospitals as those facilities await their own deliveries.

Because initial COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, DPH is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and prioritizing healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for vaccination. Vaccine will be given through closed points of dispensing or PODs. These sites include public health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, etc., and are only accessible to individuals in defined priority groups.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to give Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization (EAU) later this week. Assuming the vaccine is authorized for use by FDA, shipments of the Moderna vaccine should begin arriving in Georgia next week.

Video of today’s arrival of vaccine and a brief interview with Lawton Davis, M.D., Coastal Health District health director, is available to all media outlets for use at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ru650s2wlbwhtjr/AAA5wHLL0Tanf2QUJoo_m59Na?dl=0.

Additional information about distribution and first administration of vaccine will be coming soon.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

For information about COVID-19, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely; Stay Home to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing families to make difficult decisions about their 2020 Thanksgiving celebrations. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges all Georgians to plan ahead and take steps to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the flu as they celebrate.

COVID-19 spreads easily whether gatherings are large or small, putting families and friends at risk – especially individuals who are elderly or have underlying medical conditions. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to stay home and celebrate with people in your own household. Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

“The surge of COVID-19 infections in Georgia and across the country mean we must rethink our idea of a traditional Thanksgiving this year,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., DPH commissioner. “Each family must assess the risk of exposure to COVID-19, especially among elderly or medically fragile individuals, as they weigh the decision to host or attend a holiday gathering. Everyone needs to follow the guidance of wearing a face mask, social distancing and washing your hands frequently. And get a flu shot.” 

If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people you don’t live with, take steps to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals who have not lived in the household during the two weeks ahead of the holiday (members of the military or college students home for the holiday) stay in a separate area of the house with a designated bathroom, if possible. Other recommendations include:

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a Gathering

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils.

Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

For more information about safely celebrating Thanksgiving log on to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Free, Confidential HIV Testing and Giveaway Events Scheduled

Free, confidential HIV testing events have been scheduled in observance of World AIDS Day. There will be giveaways at all events, while supplies last.

Upcoming Events

Free HIV Testing & Turkey Giveaway
Thursday, November 19
1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Chatham County Health Department
1395 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah

Get tested and get a free frozen turkey, face mask, and hand sanitizer while supplies last. (One turkey per household. Must be 16 years of age or older to get tested).

Free HIV Testing & Gift Card Giveaway
Chatham County Health Department
1602 Drayton Street, Savannah
Monday, November 30
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Free testing and giveaways including gift cards, swag bags, and self-protection kits while supplies last.

Free HIV Testing & Gift Card Giveaway
Glynn County Health Department
Tuesday, December 1
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2747 Fourth Street, Brunswick
Free testing and giveaways including gift cards, swag bags, and self-protection kits while supplies last.

Launched in 1988, World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1. The Coastal Health District, along with organizations all over the world, holds events on and around that day to promote awareness of HIV, decrease stigma surrounding HIV, and advocate for an end to the HIV epidemic. As a reminder, HIV testing is always free at all health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties and available Monday through Friday during regular health department hours of operation.

Masks required and social distancing observed at all events.