The Coastal Health District announced Monday that it has temporarily stopped taking COVID-19 vaccination appointments due to an “overwhelming response” from people in the expanded Phase 1A category.

In less than a week of taking appointments, health departments in the eight-county health district, which includes Glynn, Camden, McIntosh, Liberty, Long, Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties, have received enough requests to keep them busy through February and into March, according to a press release from the health district.

“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, director of the Coastal Health District.

No appointments are being canceled and anyone who is awaiting a return call will get an appointment, according to the health department.

Residents of the eight counties can go to covid19.gachd.org to register for a notification when appointments reopen. Registering online does not guarantee a vaccination appointment, however.

Davis said the health department is actively looking for means to increase access to vaccines.

“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,” Davis said. “But your health departments are stretched thin and doing what they can to move forward.”

At a press conference last week, Davis said he hopes other organizations like hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and others would sign up to help distribute the vaccine, and encouraged residents to contact their physician or pharmacy about offering the service. 

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