Gwinnett residents who have chronic health conditions will not need the doctor’s note to prove they are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine if they get the shot from confirmed the county health department, a spokesperson for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale health departments.
Georgia is expanding eligibility to be vaccinated, starting Monday, to include people with a wide range of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, or kidney or liver disease. The minimum age to get the vaccine will also decrease from Mondays between 65 and 55 and adults with disabilities will also be admitted.
Some residents raised questions when the vaccine was first introduced in December about the need to provide documentation of their condition when they received the vaccine.
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The answer is “no” because they have already certified that they met the criteria when they scheduled the vaccination appointment, according to Gwinnett Health Department spokesman Chad Wasdin.
“Proof verification was easier in Phase 1a for proof of age (such as with an ID) or for employment in approved groups (such as with a badge), Wasdin said. “As we enter expanded phases, it will become more difficult to verify eligibility and we will have to rely on the honor system and accurate self-reporting. Requesting physician notes or documentation could strain the medical system to provide verification. “
Although Gwinnett’s health officials don’t request documentation, a key caveat in that statement is that Wasdin said he couldn’t speak to which one else sites distribution of the vaccine, such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies or grocery stores, will require.
While public health officials must rely on people who sign up for the vaccine to be honest when they claim they have a chronic health condition that qualifies them to receive the vaccine, starting Monday, they are emphasizing the importance that people only get the vaccine if they truly qualify you.
People with chronic health conditions are becoming eligible for the vaccine a week after teachers may start receiving it.
Although the mass vaccination of the Gwinnett health department site in the former Sears at Gwinnett Place Mall is designed to eventually handle 3,000 vaccinations a day – once enough vaccine doses are available to do so – District Health Director, Dr Audrey Arona, said she was running about 1,800 vaccinations at day starting last Monday.
“It is our intention to vaccinate only those in the current approved groups,” Wasdin said. “We ask those currently ineligible to continue to be patient for eligibility to broaden so that we can vaccinate the most vulnerable first.”
The full list of chronic health conditions that now qualify for a vaccine includes:
• Cerebrovascular disease
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• Chronic kidney disease
• Immunocompromised state
• Neurological conditions
• Overweight and obesity