The demand for COVID-19 vaccine has stabilized to the point where health departments are now offering vaccines without an appointment.
They are still recommended, but appointments are not required.
Ginger Heidel, risk communicator for the Coastal Health District, said there was a good response for those seeking a vaccine in the age group 65 and older. Now that the vaccine is available to anyone as young as 16 years old, health officials want to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“We’re busy at the clinics, but we’d like to be busier,” she said.
Heidel said the disease is still being spread mostly by the 40 and younger age group.
“We’d like to see more of that younger group get vaccinated,” she said.
Ongoing studies will determine if the vaccine is safe for children as young as six months, but Heidel said it’s uncertain when that study will be complete. It’s possible the vaccine could be offered in public schools in the fall and be administered the same way flu shots are given.
“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-in vaccination shots are only offered during specific clinic hours that vary from county to county. A schedule for walk-in vaccine availability is posted online at chdcovidvax.org.
The Moderna vaccine is available to anyone age 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is available to anyone 16 and older.
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/vac.
Once fully vaccinated, the CDC says individuals can:
• Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks
• Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks
• Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
• Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
• Return from international travel without having to self-quarantine.
Here is a schedule of hours at local health departments for no-appointment vaccines:
Glynn County Health Department, 2747 Fourth Street in Brunswick, Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m. to noon; Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1p.m. to 6.pm.; Friday 8 a.m. to noon.
Pfizer vaccine is for those 16 and older.
Camden County Health Department, 905 Dilworth St. in St. Marys, Monday 9 to 11:30 a.m. Moderna vaccine for age 18 and older.
Camden County Health Department, 1501 Georgia Ave. in Woodbine, Tuesday 9 to 11:30 a.m. Moderna vaccine is for age 18 and older.
McIntosh County Health Department, 1335 Georgia Hwy. 57 in Townsend, Monday 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Moderna vaccine for age 18 and older.