Right now in Georgia, the groups eligible to receive the COVID vaccine include health care workers, first responders, employees and residents of long-term care facilities, and adults 65 and over. Teachers and school district staff aren't yet on that list, but that didn't stop a medical center from administering vaccinations to that group—and now it's been suspended from the state's vaccination program for six months. CNN reports that the Medical Center of Elberton was dinged after the state's Department of Public Health found out this week it had been vaccinating staff from the Elbert County School District who weren't in the currently qualified Phase 1A+ group. Per 11Alive, about 40% of the district's 500-plus employees got the vaccine earlier this month, and more had hoped to. After getting wind on Tuesday of the surreptitious inoculations, the DPH started investigating, and it soon suspended the center after confirming the rumors.
Per the suspension, which the DPH says will run through July 27, the rural facility will no longer see any coronavirus vaccine shipments coming its way, though it will be allowed to use up the doses it has left to give people their second shots, the health department says. The district's superintendent doesn't seem bothered by the initial flouting of protocol. "It's hard to wear a mask when you're trying to teach students sounds," Jon Jarvis tells 11Alive. "The vaccination for teachers, bus drivers, school nutrition workers ... they should be considered in the first group, in my opinion." Meanwhile, an administrator at the medical center tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she's "pissed" about the suspension: "Our community is relying on us to vaccinate them, and our state has decided, during a pandemic, to suspend our privileges." (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)