Now vaccinating age 12+ in Chatham/Glynn. Info on COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing, Data:
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The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

Long News


Vaccination More Urgent Than Ever; COVID-19 Cases Increase and Delta Variant Spreads in Georgia

If you were waiting for the right time to get vaccinated, that time is now! The
Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging Georgians to get vaccinated as the
number of new COVID-19 cases increases daily and the Delta variant spreads.

The COVID case rate in Georgia has increased 204% over the last 14-day period. Yesterday
new cases totaled 4,612 – the highest daily number since mid-February. Hospitalizations have
increased by about 50% in the last 14 days, and deaths have increased by about 18% in the
same period. Vaccination has stalled statewide and only 40% of Georgians are fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the Delta variant accounts for
78% of new COVID cases in Georgia, making vaccination more urgent than ever. The Delta
variant spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier
strains. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes are happening in places with low
vaccination rates, and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the
unvaccinated.

“Unfortunately, we can expect COVID numbers to keep growing. People who are unvaccinated
or skip their second dose of vaccine are targets for infection,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D.,
M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Getting vaccinated is the
best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant. High vaccination coverage
will reduce spread of the virus in your community and elsewhere – and help prevent new
variants from emerging.”

All Georgians aged 12 and older are urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19. If you receive
either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, you must get your second dose to ensure you are fully
protected. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of
vaccine.

COVID vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. are safe and effective against COVID-19 and the
variants that are circulating. Vaccination is the best defense at preventing severe illness,
hospitalizations and death. The delta variant is causing some “vaccine breakthrough infections,”
meaning infections in fully vaccinated people, but even so, most breakthrough infections are
mild. In areas with substantial and high transmission, the CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

Apply Now for the Coastal Health District Hurricane Registry

Every coastal resident should plan ahead for a possible hurricane evacuation, but this planning is critical for individuals with physical or medical challenges. If you or a loved one has medical issues and no way to evacuate before a storm, now is the time to apply for the Coastal Health District’s Hurricane Registry.

The Hurricane Registry is a list of adults or children who live at home under the care of family or trained medical professionals, but who would require special assistance in a shelter or healthcare facility during an evacuation. Additionally, individuals on the registry must have no other way to evacuate safely.

“The Hurricane Registry is truly a safety net,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “If our area is ordered to evacuate, we don’t want these individuals trapped at home because they didn’t have the resources to leave and a medically appropriate place to go. But we can’t prepare if we don’t know their situation, which is why they need to apply in advance.”

The Hurricane Registry is managed by the local health department in each of the 8 counties of the Coastal Health District, including Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh. You must apply to be on the registry in advance. You can begin the process by calling the Hurricane Registry hotline toll-free at 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344) or downloading an application at gachd.org/registry.

All coastal residents are also urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. These vaccines would be especially important for protecting you and those around you in a shelter environment. Some vaccines require two doses several weeks apart, and it takes time for the body to build immunity after vaccination, so don’t delay.

For more information about the hurricane registry, visit gachd.org/registry.

Back-to-School Clinics Scheduled

The pandemic has resulted in delays in some children getting check-ups and immunizations. Health departments in the Coastal Health District will hold back-to-school clinics so students can get the following screenings and vaccinations required for school attendance:

  • Students entering a Georgia school for the first time – no matter what the grade level – must have a completed Certificate of Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screening form. “First time” means never enrolled in a Georgia school before at any time in their lives.
  • Children born on or after January 1, 2002 who are attending seventh grade and new entrants into Georgia schools in grades 8 through 12 must have received one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of meningococcal vaccine. (“New entrant” means any child entering any school in Georgia for the first time or entering after having been absent from a Georgia school for more than 12 months or one school year).
  • Effective July 1, 2021, children 16 years of age and older, who are entering the 11th grade (including new entrants), must have received one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday.

The HPV vaccine is also recommended for both girls and boys ages 11–12 to protect against cancers and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus.

Students will be seen on a first come, first served basis and no appointment is necessary*. Most insurance accepted.

The following clinics have been scheduled:

Bryan County Health Department
Pembroke (430 Ledford St.)
8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13
Tuesday, July 27

Richmond Hill (66 Capt. Matthew Freeman Drive)
8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14
Wednesday, July 28

*Chatham County Health Department, 1395 Eisenhower Drive
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday July 15
Thursday, July 29
*Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screenings at no cost.

Effingham County Health Department, 802 Hwy. 119 South, Springfield
*Every Tuesday beginning June 22 (BY APPOINTMENT)

*Glynn County Health Department, 2747 Fourth Street, Brunswick
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Every Thursday in July beginning Thursday, July 8.
*Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screenings at no cost.

Liberty County Health Department, 1113 E. Oglethorpe Hwy., Hinesville 
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 26
Wednesday, July 21
Wednesday, July 28

Long County Health Department, 584 N. Macon Street, Ludowici
8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, June 8
Tuesday, July 13

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Friday, September 3

McIntosh County Health Department, 1335 Hwy. 57, Townsend
1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 29

National HIV Testing Day Events Scheduled

The Coastal Health District HIV Prevention Program will hold several free HIV testing events (no appointment necessary) around the Coastal Health District throughout the month of June to bring awareness to National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) and the importance of knowing your status.

Scheduled Events

  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday, June 21
    Richmond Hill Public Library, 9607 Ford Ave., Richmond Hill

  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday, June 22
    Coastal Community Health Services, 106 Shoppers Way, Brunswick

  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 23
    Diversity Health Center, 303 Fraser Dr., Hinesville

  • 7 – 11 p.m., Thursday, June 24
    Star Castle, 550 Mall Blvd., Savannah

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, June 26
    Chatham County Health Department, 1395 Eisenhower Dr., Savannah*
    *(Drive-through event)

All testing is free and confidential and results will be available in about one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals.

This year’s theme, “My Test, My Way,” highlights different ways and places to get tested, including at home with a self-test. Swag bags, gift cards, and other giveaways will be available at all events.

Around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in seven people do not know they have it and need to be tested. National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity to raise awareness, encourage people to get the facts, tested, get involved, and get linked to care and treatment services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People at higher risk should get tested more often.

As a reminder, HIV testing is always free by appointment 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.

For more information on Coastal Health District HIV services, please visit our website at gachd.org/hiv.

Health Departments to Offer Pfizer Clinics for Teen Vaccinations

The Coastal Health District is now scheduling appointments for special Pfizer vaccine clinics at 7 county health department locations. Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for individuals as young as 12 years of age.

“Several of our clinics typically offer Moderna vaccine for anyone 18 and older, but we want to be sure our younger residents have the opportunity for vaccination, too,” said Paige Lightsey, Immunization Coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “That’s why we’re offering special Pfizer clinics, so everyone 12 and older will have access to the vaccine.”

The Pfizer clinics will be offered in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties. Glynn and Chatham Counties already offer Pfizer during normal clinic hours.

These special Pfizer clinics are not limited to teens; adults who would like to receive Pfizer can also schedule appointments. There is no cost for the vaccine. Appointments are preferred and can be scheduled online at chdcovidvax.org or by calling 912-230-5506. Walk-ins are welcome, but subject to vaccine availability at the time of the clinic.

“Now is a great time to get your child vaccinated,” said Lightsey. “By starting the two-dose vaccine series now, your child will be fully vaccinated and protected when school begins in the fall.”

Pfizer vaccine requires two doses. You’ll be scheduled for your second dose of vaccine three weeks after receiving your first dose at the clinic.

Pfizer/Teen Clinics for Ages 12+

Bryan County Health Department – Pembroke

  • 430 Ledford Street in Pembroke
  • Wednesday, June 2, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Bryan County Health Department – Richmond Hill

  • 66 Captain Matthew Freeman Drive in Richmond Hill
  • Tuesday, May 25, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Camden County Health Department – St. Marys

  • 905 Dilworth Street in St. Marys
  • Wednesday, May 26, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Effingham County Health Department

  • 802 Hwy. 199 South in Springfield
  • Friday, May 28, 8 am – 12 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Liberty County Health Department

  • 1113 East Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville
  • Tuesday, May 25, 8:30-11:30 am
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Long County Health Department

  • 584 North Macon Street in Ludowici
  • Tuesday, May 25, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

McIntosh County Health Department

  • 1335 Georgia Hwy. 57 in Townsend
  • Wednesday, May 26, 1-4 pm
  • Schedule appointments at chdcovidvax.org.

Residents Invited to Learn How to Make Healthy Changes to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Program will hold two kickoff meetings for residents interested in participating in a type 2 diabetes prevention program. The virtual meetings will be held on Wednesday, May 19th, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Tuesday, May 25th, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in taking part should call Cristina Gibson at 912-644-5818 or email cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.

PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, groups of participants will learn the skills they need to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active, and managing stress.

People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson. “The PreventT2 program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

PreventT2 groups meet for a year — weekly for the first 6 months, then once or twice a month for the second 6 months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

Health Departments Offer Walk-In Hours for COVID-19 Vaccination

As vaccine supply and demand have stabilized, the health departments of the Coastal Health District can now offer COVID-19 vaccinations without an appointment during specific clinic hours. Appointments are still recommended, but not required.

“Now that vaccine is in good supply, we want to remove as many barriers to vaccination as possible,” said Paige Lightsey, Immunization Coordinator for the Coastal Health District. “The vaccine is free, plentiful, safe, and effective, and it’s our best tool to stop the pandemic. And now it’s easier than ever to get your shot.”

Walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccination are only allowed during specific clinic hours which vary by county. A schedule for walk-in vaccine availability is posted at chdcovidvax.org.

Anyone age 18 and older can receive Moderna vaccine and anyone 16 and older can receive Pfizer vaccine. When you receive your first dose in the two-dose series, an appointment will be made for your second dose of vaccine.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be available for walk-ins, but specific J&J clinics will be offered at various locations. Check chdcovidvax.org for more details.

Additional information about COVID-19 vaccination can be found at covid19.gachd.org/vaccine.

DPH Will Resume J&J Vaccinations in Georgia

Following a thorough safety review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC
and ACIP have determined that the recommended pause regarding the use of the J&J COVID
vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will again offer J&J vaccine to Georgians aged
18 and older. Details on when administration of the vaccine will begin again in Georgia will be
forthcoming, pending communication with providers.

The federal agencies advised that a warning should be added to the vaccine about the potential
for very rare, but severe blood clots associated with the J&J vaccine. In particular, women under
the age of 50 should be made of aware of the increased risk of thrombosis and
thrombocytopenia syndrome and may choose to receive another vaccine.

At the time J&J vaccine administration was paused, more than 124,000 doses of J&J vaccine
had been safely administered in Georgia. Approximately 211,000 doses are currently in
inventory statewide.

Vaccination remains one of our best tools for stopping the spread of COVID-19, along with basic
prevention measures – wearing a mask, distancing from others, avoiding large gatherings, and
washing your hands frequently

Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations Paused

Following the guidance and recommendations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is pausing J&J (Janssen) vaccinations in Georgia until further notice.

  • The JOHNSON AND JOHNSON clinics on Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday April 14 at the Chatham County Annex will now offer Pfizer vaccine. If you have an appointment, you may still come at your regular appointment time and will receive Pfizer instead of Johnson & Johnson. You will need to return for a second dose in three weeks.
  • The JOHNSON AND JOHNSON clinic Wednesday, April 14 at the Shuman Recreation Center in Liberty will now offer Moderna vaccine. If you have an appointment, you may still come at your regular appointment time and will receive Moderna instead of Johnson & Johnson. You will need to return for a second dose in four weeks.
  • There is a JOHNSON AND JOHNSON clinic scheduled for April 24th in Camden. At this time, we do not know what vaccine will be offered – we will wait for further instruction from FDA and CDC.

The FDA and CDC are reviewing data involving six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot occurring in women aged 18-48 about a week after vaccination. None of the six cases are in individuals vaccinated in Georgia.

DPH and District Health Departments are working to provide Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for individuals with previously scheduled appointments for the J&J vaccine. In some cases, this may require rescheduling, and we ask for patience while scheduling arrangements and adjustments are made.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare, but out of an abundance of caution DPH will temporarily stop the administration of the J&J vaccine while scientists review the data around these cases. More than 124,000 doses of J&J vaccine have been safely administered in Georgia.

Individuals who have received the J&J vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care providers. DPH urges all health care providers to be aware of the potential for these adverse events and plan for appropriate treatment required with these types of blood clots.

Vaccination remains one of our best tools for stopping the spread of COVID-19, along with basic prevention measures – wearing a mask, distancing from others, avoiding large gatherings and frequent hand washing.

DPH will continue to monitor the situation with J&J vaccines and provide additional information as it becomes available.

More information is also available on the website of the FDA.

Georgians 16+ Eligible for COVID Vaccine

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp announced the state will expand its COVID vaccine eligibility beginning March 25, 2021, to include all Georgians aged 16 and older. Increased COVID vaccine supply and significant progress in vaccinating Georgia seniors, our most vulnerable population, allows the state to move forward and to ensure all vaccine doses are being put into arms.

Vaccination, along with strict compliance with basic prevention measures – wear a mask, stay six feet from others, avoid large gatherings, wash your hands frequently – will help Georgia stop the spread of COVID-19.

These measures are critically important as SARs-CoV-2 variants continue to circulate and increase in Georgia. Currently, there are 367 confirmed COVID cases with variants statewide; 351 cases with the UK variant (B.1.1.7), 15 cases with the South Africa variant (B.1.351), and 1 case with the Brazil variant (P.1). These variants appear to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Follow the advice of your health care provider about what you should do while you wait for your test results. COVID testing not only helps DPH control and mitigate infection, but it also provides valuable information about variants when positive test results are sequenced.

To schedule a vaccination appointment at a health department in the Coastal Health District, visit chdcovidvax.org. To schedule an appointment at a GEMA mass vaccination site, visit myvaccinegeorgia.com. Or, click here to view information and links for other vaccine providers in our area.

Important note: Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine approved for teens 16 and 17 years old. Please schedule an appointment at the Chatham County Health Department, Glynn County Health Department, CVS or Walgreens or at one of the GEMA mass vaccination sites to ensure Pfizer vaccine is available.