Officials try to stop out-of-state vaccine seekers
COVID-19 vaccine shopping and vaccine tourism is becoming a problem and Georgia’s health officials tell us trying to crack down.
This week, Shelby County Alabama couple Mark and Connie Wallace traveled for nearly two hours across state lines to Carroll County to get the vaccine at the Publix Pharmacy.
“They knew that we were coming from out of state and they said that was fine.,” Connie Wallace told an Alabama reporter. “We didn’t want to feel like we were pushing out becausethat’s not what we wanted to do….I was so excited and very thankful to be able to get it,” she went on.
While the couple is thankful, others locally are still waiting, and the District 4 health department has run out of vaccine appointments. CBS46’s Hayley Mason went to the Carroll County Health Department to ask why people who live out of state couple were approved. They directed CBS46 to call their district office—the lines were busy.
The state health department then responded explaining “the vaccine allocated to Georgia is for Georgia residents, with some limited exceptions” like if the person lives in a neighboring state but works here and is vaccinated through work.
For the Alabama couple, the Georgia health department says Publix will have to explain why the approval was made.
Georgia’s Public Health Commissioner said when she learned of a vaccine tourism in Georgia she jumped into action to stop the trend
“I was flabbergasted. I said no you can’t don’t you dare,” said Dr. Kathleen Toomey after learning of a possible caravan of people coming to Atlanta from Pennsylvania to get the vaccine.
“I’ve since told all of our providers that this vaccine is for residents of Georgia and you have to say no you can’t vaccinate here with the exception of those who may be out of state, but work here,” Dr. Toomey said at a Thursday press conference.
“When I became aware of that we jumped on that right away and got the word out to providers as well as our public health departments and since tried to stay on top of that,” Dr. Toomey said.
CBS46 asked Governor Kemp’s office if they plan to implement an in-state residence requirement to get the vaccine . The Governor’s communications director told Mason, “The “Governor would rely on Dr. Toomey’s advice before making that determination.