tv Georgia Gov. Kemp Holds Coronavirus Briefing CSPAN December 31, 2020 9:01am-9:31am EST
toomey for being with us here today and thank her and her team as well and many others for all they're doing every day. we wanted to give you a quick update this morning on the vaccine administration and planning before the holiday weekend. as you all know, earlier this week we rolled out the covid-19 vaccine in our nursing homes as well as our long-term care facilities. thanks to the incredible partnership that we have with the private sector and great partners like cvs and walgreens. that is the key step, obviously, in our fight to end the virus here in georgia and i want to again express my deep gratitude to the countless nurses, doctors, public health workers and long-term care facility staff who have rolled up their sleeves in the last few days to get the vaccine. on tuesday, gema director chris and i toured the alternative care facility that's been stood back up at the georgia world congress center.
this is to help alleviate strains on our hospitals in the metro area as well as across the state. that facility will begin accepting patients at the end of this week and that will be with an additional 60 beds coming on-line that will help ensure that our hospitals continue to have the capacity at that they need to care for both covid and non-covid patients. i and the rest of my team remain in constant contact with hospital ceo's throughout the state and all of them have expressed a lot of hope and excitement with the rollout of the pfizer and the moderna vaccines in their facilities. like them, dr. toomey, myself, and our teams are all eager to get the vaccine to as many people as possible. with that said, last night, we made an announcement on expanded plans for vaccine administration for phase 1-a these next couple of weeks,
provided the state receives adequate vaccine allotment. in the next week we hope to expand 1-a criteria to include police, firefighters and those over age of 65. dr. toomey can speak more to the specifics, but this step will allow us to target the limited supply of the vaccine we have to those who would benefit from it the most. while we wait for additional guidance from c.d.c. and operation warp speed on the new phases for the rollout. we had a great meeting, as i mentioned yesterday, with dr. redfield and the c.d.c. leadership, and one of the key topics that we discussed was strategic deployment of antibody drugs and outpatient infusion centers to reduce hospitalizations. these drugs have shown-- have been able to be-- these drugs have been shown to redouse hospitalizations by as
much as 70%. and are designed to be administered just after the high risk individual developed symptoms or test positive to limit the progression of the virus. in the coming days, we will be working with our partners at public health, our nursing homes, federally qualified health centers and hospitals to build a network of outpatient infusion centers and we'll continue working around the clock to ensure that georgians have access to quality care, these treatments and the vaccines under the parameters of phase 1-a. i wanted to end tonight by talking about new year's eve. i've been clear with the people of georgia this week, the virus is still here and presents as big a threat as ever. we need all georgians to continue to act responsibly in the best interest of their loved ones and fellow citizens to limit the spread over the holiday weekend.
limit your gatherings to small groups of people within the same household. consider gathering virtually to watch the ball drop tonight. avoid including elderly loved ones or those more susceptible to the virus in your plans and please consider the risk of going out for new year's eve throughout tonight or the weekend. if you do go out, i would encourage you to go avoid going home these next few weeks to prevent the spread of the virus to other loved ones or individuals more at risk. as i mentioned yesterday the largest percentage of cases that we're seeing in the state are coming from 18 to 29 year olds. they have not been hit hard in most cases by this virus, but if they infect others, that's where we see problems and the risk of someone being in the hospital or worse. our guidance on limits to bar capacity and gatherings size remain in effect. and as i've said yesterday as
well. they can be enforced by any local or state law enforcement. we're each responsible to our fellow georgians to stop the spread of covid-19 while we administer the vaccine safely and efficiently. and if the people of georgia will hunker down for a little bit longer, stay vigilant and do the things that we have been talking about, wearing a mask, washing your hands, socially distancing themselves, and following the health guidance in our executive orders, we can all have a safe, happy new year and look ahead to the continued miraculous rollout of this unbelievable vaccine and in the rest of 2021. i want to thank everyone for being here today. thank those for following the guidance, be safe tonight, and throughout the weekend. god bless and i'll turn it over to dr. toomey.
>> thank you so much. i wanted to talk a little bit more about what we're doing and how we're doing this and why we're doing this. i think the data are very clear. individuals 65 and older are at high risk for complications of covid. high risk of complications such as hospitalizations, but also deaths from covid and it's really made sense for us to move into this additional category to offer vaccine for such vulnerable individuals at a time when, sadly, we are not getting the kind of up-take of vaccine by health care workers all over the state. by contrast in metro atlanta there's a waiting list of hundreds of health care workers waiting to get vaccinated, but if many parts of rural georgia, both in the north and the south, there's vaccine
available and literally sitting in freezers. that's unacceptable. we have lives to save. the and so we decided in conjunction with governor kemp and shared with our health director statewide that we'll move forward with this important change because it will save lives, even as we continue to vaccinate health care workers who are putting themselves at risk, as well as police, fire, other law enforcement who are also often the first responders of the scene and at risk. i want to talk about metro and what we envision over the next several weeks here in metro to try to fill the gaps and ensure that all the health care workers and metro want to be vaccinated can be vaccinated as we are setting up a series of clinics. we envision a number of drive-through mass vaccinations, and where multiple people can be
vaccinated at the same time. potentially in partnership with some of our university partners, and we'll be able to do thousands of people within a day, rather than just 100s in the clinic. so we expect that to do that in the week or two ahead and then can confidently begin to make appointments for individuals over age 65. and we have on our website the capacity to click on a link and be able to make an appointment for a vaccine and that's how health care workers as well can get vaccines. so i expect to see that and a lot of public information coming out about those clinics here as well as in rural areas. i suspect that already many providers are beginning to offer vaccines because they have it in their freezers.
and we will continue to roll that out very aggressively as we get vaccine. i guess there's two things that i want to point out again, please be patient. we don't have as much vaccine as we do have need for vaccine. and we will be having to make appointments so we can literally match the number of vaccine doses to the number of people who can come that day, rather than have a situation where there are many people waiting and we don't have enough vaccine available. i think the other thing is, we hope that we can address some of the concerns people have about the vaccine. i was relieved when the vaccine became available here in georgia because it's going to be our tool to end this pandemic here, but that's only going to happen if, at least 80% of georgians are willing to take that vaccine because
that's how many people are required within a given area to the have what's called herd immunity or such an immunity that is not ongoing community spre spread. at a time we're seeing the highest community spread we've ever seen in this pandemic, i think it's important to recognize that this is life saving and can stop the pandemic and get back to normal life. we're anticipating this rollout, as i've said, in the next several weeks, but even more quickly in the areas where there is vaccine available as we're continuing to follow up with the health care providers here in metro, but then we will roll out into other areas and be very assured to have a lot of information, a lot of public communication about who's next and as we-- as we get additional vaccine, we want to make sure we have enough vaccine for everybody
we're offering it to. so, i think that communication channel is particularly important. the other thing is that we have over 1,000 providers that have signed up to be providers and not all of those currently have vaccin vaccines. now that we've moved into an additional category in phase one, i think a lot of them will offer vaccines in their offices, additional place that the public in particular these older individuals can go to be vaccinated and we are going to do active outreach to additional providers to ensure that all who enrolled get additional vaccine and orders in and also others around the state who may not have signed up to encourage them to do so, that we truly have the state covered with vaccine. but i think this is a fabulous way, a happy day to end 2020
with an announcement of the potential to save many, many lives in georgia, even in the next several weeks, so, i really appreciate you being here and i'm just grateful for governor kemp's support for moving forward. thank you so much. >> all right. any questions? >> yes, thanks. >> [inaudible question] >> i'll let dr. toomey speak more to that. she's probably got more later data as we say, sometimes on that. i will say that's what's so interesting about the scenario that we're in right now. i want georgians to know that we're going to be -- and i told when we started the vaccine rollout that it was going to be a methodical process and that we knew that we would hit
situations that, you know, you just don't know how this is going to go and that's the problem we have right now. we have more people that want to get vaccinated in the metro areas than we have vaccine and it's completely the reverse of that in parts of rural georgia. the demand is not there from the people that want to get it, but the vaccine's there. so that's why we're changing. we're moving. we talked to dr. redfield about this yesterday, the c.d.c. guidance is exactly that, it's guidance, but every state is different. they've got different scenarios and we're dealing with the georgia scenario and like dr. redfield said and dr. toomey and i both agree if there's a vaccine sitting in a freezer somewhere, that's not what we want. we want somebody to be getting it and that's why we're expanding the criteria. from all indications that i know, we're going to continue to receive shipments of the vaccine and we're going to do everything in our power to get it administered as quickly as we can to the people that need
it in an orderly fashion and i'll let dr. toomey speak to the amounts. >> this always happen. i get stuck up, hey, i wear my mask. in metro atlanta, we are actively vaccinating now. so it isn't a lack of vaccines, it's really having the capacity to vaccinate the number of people who want it, which is a good thing that there are health care workers here who want to be vaccinated. and that's why, you know, yesterday when we met with a metro health directors, we thought the best to have a mass vaccine clinic, several of them, probably throughout the metro area, not just in atlanta, but a number of areas and they're working together right now on that and i suspect we may see it as early as next
week, as we must ensure that we have enough vaccine, but we are likely can have 5,000 in a single clinic, that's what we're aiming for. but right now we're vaccinating. i know that many of the public health districts in metro are having vaccination clinics this weekend after new years and so, that will continue. it's not that we're not vaxnating, we are. but the priority will be to get the health care workers, but we'll quickly move into that other phase of vaccinating, particularly the 65 and older, which is of great concern to all of us and public health. [inaudible question] >> i mean, allocation is the
vaccine has come in. distribution is where it's gone, but that doesn't mean -- it's right into vaccine in arms, it's a little more complicated to get it from the box into people's arms because of the logistics of how we do that and how you set up and that's why it's so important for us to have appointments. i saw a news report in other states where they have people waiting overnight for vaccines. now, that's unacceptable. we have to make sure we have the vaccine available, but that it's easy for people to come in and get that service. just as it was for individuals to get the covid test at our test sites. so we're trying to aim for that same customer service and ease, as well as educate everyone about the safety and he haeffic of this vaccine. if there's anything that you all can do to help us, please
help us get that message out. i have looked at the data. i have looked at how the vaccines were developed. you know, nobody cut corners. they were able to do it in a record amount of time that surprised many of us in the public health field, but it wasn't because any safety measures were cut, you know, the paper work and the bureaucracy was streamlined to be able to make it fast because it's needed fast and i hope that as other people get vaccinated, as people's mothers get vaccinated that they will be willing to get vaccinated as well. >> [inaudible question] >> well, there's a couple of
issues. one is vaccines delivered. it's always a day or two behind because we only know when people entered into the vaccine reporting system so we know we've delivered more vaccines into people's arms than we actually have reported because we're dependent on people, providers, whether it's public health providers, private sector providers, hospitals reporting that, but that's true statewide and dr. redfield even talked about that with me yesterday, is that, you know, there's always going to be a delay in reporting and so it looks like we haven't done our job, but, in fact, we have. it just takes a while to have the numbers catch up with where we are. and the other thing is, i think as we get more providers on board with vaccines, we'll be able to actually increase that considerably. so, i'm not worried about that. this is something that you're seeing in virtually every state, and that part of that
lag is just reporting and part of the lag is just being able to be able to set up the clinics and i'm sure there's the appointments that people can get in and not be waiting as happened yesterday in sister states. states. [inaudible question] >> well, you know, we talked about that. we actually talked about that and one of the decision points was we need the vaccine and want to begin to expand vaccinations to older individuals who are at high risk. you know, older individuals, along with the long-term care facility residents are at the
highest risk of death and complications. you have it here. why not just begin and be very aggressive here in metro to get-- to reach the other populations rather than take away from somebody else. and we can do that. we have sufficient vaccine on board now, and expect more in. we were told yesterday c.d.c., in two shipments. so i think that will be particularly with these mass clinics, that we're planning to do in partnership with some of our university partners, we'll be able to process those quickly and then also move into the additional risk groups as well. so, and transporting vaccine, also, isn't that easy. remember, the cold change you have to follow. the worst thing that could happen, you say we're going to transport it and waste vaccine because you break the cold chain.
that would be a true tragedy. >> well, i think the team just told me, too, we actually got 120,000 doses of vaccine this week. we don't know what we'll get next week. we have to assume the supply chain keeps coming. by the time we try to do all the logistical things to move the vaccine around we'll have new vaccine, so really, it's not worth it. we're better off just getting at that vaccine to people on the ground today, you know, in the next couple of days versus trying to move it and it be five or six more days and then we have other vaccine coming in and that's part of what our team is working on now. i mentioned the infusion centers, but we're also continuing to change and look at the logistics. so we're getting the vaccine where the need is. i mean, this is one of the things that-- this whole plan that we have, we're going to change it weekly, if we need to, to get the vaccine where the demand is and where we need it to protect the most vulnerable, to try to
give some relief to our hospitals and that's our commitment to continue to do that. >> do you want to speak to that? that? >> this is really an unusual situation in that the c.d.c. works with either mckesson for moderna or pfizer ships directly to our vaccine sites, whether it's a hospital or private provider or to our public health clinics. we do have some shipped just to have a backup in case there's a shortage at our storage site, that holds a stock pile. so, that those logistics are handled through operation warp speed. when you transfer from one provider to another, then we
would engage the state patrol or our local ability to move and that may happen more and more as we move further down the road, as providers only need a few doses rather than 100 or 975 doses, as are in a box of pfizer. so, you know, much of the logistics and movement comes through the c.d.c. prospect, but then the local transport, when that would happen would be through either our immunization program or likely state patrol. >> i'll add a couple of points, we were at a nursing home facility monday doing the vaccine at that facility to their health care workers. there was another facility similar to that one in gainsville that didn't get the allotment monday, but i found
out they got it tuesday and were overjoyed. so they didn't have the vaccine monday, but it got to them tuesday and they immediately started inoculating their staff and residents. i will just tell people that in the days to come, as this plan continues to broaden out to the general public, we will use every resource. every resource that i have available to me, whether it's law enforcement, you know, other agencies that we've had at our disposal, just like when we shipped, you know, if we needed to fly a ventilator to a hospital, we did it. if we needed to fly surgical gowns, masks, ppe to medical facilities early in the pandemic, we did it. we've had state patrol drive. we've had d.n.r. drive, we've used the national guard in a lot of testing sites and disease control and cleaning, they're still working at our food banks. we'll use every available resource to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible to be
part of the existing logistics network that we already have, with operation warp speed is set up and where the vaccines go and we'll continue to do that if this broadens out to the general public. [inaudible question] >> well, we're continuing and have been for probably almost two weeks now looking at additional beds to be prepared for whatever is coming our way. you know, it's so hard to predict when this peak will end and will start going in the other direction. we can't just hope for that. we've got to plan for the worst and hope for the best. so we're currently digging into a lot of different options there. i will say that there's a lot of different places that we could do that, including outside of the metro atlanta area to help some of our more rural hospitals. the big issue that we have and
every state has is staffing and that is in short supply right now and we're continuing to try to work through how we deal with that, which is one reason we're pressing forward with the infusion centers, if we can cut down on the number of vulnerable patients that end up in the hospital by getting them the antibody drugs before they get real sick, that will help us a lot. and you know, getting people vaccinated and getting our citizens to follow the guidance and the guidelines to help. i mean, we're at a critical, critical point and we've been at critical points in the past, but we've gotten all hunker down and do the right thing and stop the spread and flatten the curve. all right, thank you, everyone. >> with covid-19 relief legislation approved by congress and coronavirus
vaccines being administered, use our website, c-span.org/coronavirus to follow the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak. watch our searchable video anytime on demand and track the spread with interactive maps all at c-span.org/coronavirus. >> coming up tonight at 8 p.m. on c-span, the federalist society hears from attorneys from the biden and trump campaigns on the future of election law and c-span2, debate on the veto override on the defense policy bill. the white house conference on american history looks at how american history is taught in u.s. schools. >> as the year comes to a close, congress continues in session, debating whether to add more dollars to covid relief and to override the president's veto of defense funding programs.
a new congress, the 117th convenes on sunday at noon. join us as they swear in more than 60 new members. the house elects a speaker and as both bodies begin their work. live coverage sunday at noon eastern time. watch the house on c-span and the senate on c-span2. watch on-line at c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. ♪ ♪ ♪