ALBANY – Phoebe marked an important milestone in its COVID-19 battle by administering its 50,000th COVID-19 vaccine on April 20. Following state guidelines, Phoebe began providing vaccinations to healthcare workers on Dec. 17, 2020, expanded its efforts to include Georgians 65 and older on Jan. 17, 2021, and opened vaccinations to ages 16 and up on March 15, 2021.
“Our operations and clinical teams prepared for months for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines. We were one of the first organizations in the state to purchase ultra-cold storage systems which we knew would be required for the Pfizer vaccine,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System president & CEO. “Early on, we applied to be mass vaccination sites, and we worked out logistics for large-scale vaccinations long before the vaccines were available. As a result, we became one of the top individual vaccinators in Georgia.”
Phoebe has administered vaccines at mass sites in Albany, Americus and Sylvester. The health system is also offering free shots at all its primary care clinics, as well as through its mobile wellness clinics, and will soon make them available at its community care and urgent care clinics.
“We are determined to make these lifesaving vaccines as accessible as possible. Just this past weekend, our mobile clinics visited Webster County, Baker County, and a church in south Albany. We know widespread vaccination is what will end this pandemic, and we are working hard to get shots in as many arms as possible,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System chief medical officer.
Phoebe celebrated the milestone by displaying balloons and providing “Combat COVID” cookies to all the employees and volunteers staffing the mass vaccination sites.
“Our vaccination effort has been an incredible commitment of resources, but it’s well worth the investment. It takes dozens of people every day to operate our sites, and we thank everyone on our staff and others in the community who have dedicated their time and talent to this project.” Grant said. “We take our responsibility to educate people about COVID-19 and help protect them from the virus seriously, and we hope everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet, will do so soon.”
Phoebe is grateful for assistance from the City of Albany, Dougherty County, Dougherty County EMS, and Department of Public Health in operating the Albany site. Organizations that have provided staffing resources in Americus include Americus Police Department, Americus Fire & Emergency Services, Citizens Corps, Georgia Southwestern State University, Goldstar EMS, South Georgia Technical College, and Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
Alexis Taylor, 25, was one of the people getting her first vaccination at the main Phoebe site in Albany on April 2. She appreciated Phoebe’s efforts.
“The whole process was very quick and smooth. It was the easiest process ever, not much to it. I would advise anyone to just go ahead and do it. Get the vaccine,” Taylor said.
With demand slowing, Phoebe will begin to wind down operations at the mass sites soon and transition most vaccinations to clinic locations.
“We are working with the Department of Public Health and Albany Area Primary Health Care to pool our resources to staff one large weekly vaccination site in Albany. Now that we have our mobile units on the road, and so many clinic options throughout southwest Georgia, administering vaccinations at those locations will be more efficient and convenient for patients,” Steiner said.
More information about the joint vaccination site will released soon. Phoebe continues to have plenty of vaccine inventory and encourages anyone who needs a COVID-19 vaccine to call the Phoebe vaccine hotline at 229-312-1919 to schedule a vaccination appointment at the Phoebe location most convenient for them. Any group interested in scheduling a visit from one of Phoebe’s mobile wellness clinics should contact Phoebe Vice President of Operations Will Peterson at 229-347-6289 or email@example.com.