VACCINE DISTRIBUTION BEGINS: Doses for those 65 and older set to begin Jan. 11

  • Sunshot by Michael Hall - Hart County deputy Brandon Peace gets a COVID-19 vaccine from Hart County Health Department nurse Elaine Fleming on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at the health department.
    Sunshot by Michael Hall - Hart County deputy Brandon Peace gets a COVID-19 vaccine from Hart County Health Department nurse Elaine Fleming on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at the health department.

Vaccinations for COVID-19 are being administered locally and people over the age of 65 may be able to receive the vaccine as early as next week as the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase.
Beginning on Jan. 11, public health is scheduled to begin administering the vaccine to law enforcement, fire personnel and residents 65 years of age and older, Department of Public Health District 2 spokesperson Dave Palmer told The Sun. Some law enforcement personnel, like Deputy Brandon Peace, were vaccinated this week.
The DPH is finalizing plans on how it will offer the vaccine to residents and will post information about where to get the vaccine in the media and on its website at An email from District 2 Director Zachary Taylor sent to community leaders and obtained by The Sun shows the DPH is developing a web portal where eligible people will be able register for an appointment at the health department and will release that sometime in the coming week. Those details were not available as of press time on Wednesday.
“Please keep in mind that these plans are contingent on vaccine supply,” Palmer said.
All of the counties in Public Health District 2 continue to have “significant transmission of the virus,” according to Taylor. A five percent testing positivity rate  over a 14-day period is considered “high,” Taylor said in the email, and each of the 13 counties in District 2 currently have testing positivity rates more than 20 percent, except Forsyth County which is at 19.9 percent. Hart County’s 14-day testing positivity rate was at 26.4 percent as of Tuesday.
As of Dec. 31, the Hart County Health Department had administered 17 vaccines to healthcare workers.
Immunizations are being scheduled at some local long-term care facilities through the health department and should be completed in about a week, Palmer said.
Other long-term care facilities partnered with CVS or Walgreens pharmacies to provide the vaccine, and some enrolled as a vaccine provider and provided the immunizations in-house.
In the next phase of immunizations, phase 1-B, other essential workers and people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Critical workforce employees include, but aren’t limited to, pharmacy staff, educational faculty and staff, correctional facility staff, court employees, food processors, grocery store workers and transportation staff.
Phase 1-C is to include people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness not vaccinated during Phase 1-A or Phase 1-B. Examples of that population include other essential workers and adults below age 65 with significant comorbidities.
In the past two weeks, Hart County added 209 COVID-19 cases to its total case count, according to the DPH as of Tuesday. There have now been more than 1,200 cases of the disease in Hart County since the DPH began tracking the data in March.
There have been 21 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Hart County since March, and an additional 12 deaths listed as “probable” from the disease.
Statewide, nearly 10,000 people have died from the disease and more than 591,000 have been infected since March.
The local and regional virus statistics prompted the Hart County Charter System to close schools to in-person learning beginning today, Jan. 7, until Jan. 15. Students are tentatively scheduled to return to in-person learning on Jan. 19, after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Students were provided Chromebook laptops and other materials this week to aid in the virtual learning process.  
Meals are also being distributed through the school system’s nutrition department for free to school-aged children. Orders for the meals can be placed online at
“To the greatest extent possible, stay home and refrain from socializing with those that do not reside in your household,” the school system’s announcement said.