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Major COVID-19 developments in Georgia

And Republicans are assailing U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and other Democrats, demanding they more assertively call for schools to reopen and questioning in a digital ad whether Warnock stands with “students or with D.C. Democrats and the teachers unions.”

Here’s a look at major developments related to COVID-19 over the past week.

Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey speaks, as Gov. Brian Kemp looks on, during an announcement that the state will launch four mass vaccination sites starting Monday. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey speaks, as Gov. Brian Kemp looks on, during an announcement that the state will launch four mass vaccination sites starting Monday. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Gov. Kemp on Thursday announced that Georgia will open its first state-run vaccination sites at four locations: the Delta Flight Museum outside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; the Albany Georgia Forestry Commission in southwest Georgia; the Habersham County Fairgrounds in Clarkesville; and the Macon State Farmers Market.

The sites, opening Monday, will initially dispense about 22,000 shots per week. Georgians can pre-register at myvaccinegeorgia.com for appointments, even if they’re not yet in the pool of eligible recipients.

Georgia, which now receives about 190,000 vaccine doses a week, is benefiting from a slight uptick in allocated doses after the White House announced it will distribute about 2 million more doses each week to U.S. states. That’s because of a shift in how the Pfizer vaccine is allocated.

Registered nurse Aleve Reed administers a COVID-19 vaccine during an event in January at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Fulton County Schools employees and their spouses who are 65 and older. (Ben Gray for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Registered nurse Aleve Reed administers a COVID-19 vaccine during an event in January at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Fulton County Schools employees and their spouses who are 65 and older. (Ben Gray for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Ben Gray / Ben@BenGray.com

Credit: Ben Gray / Ben@BenGray.com

Atlanta schools push for shots for teachers

Atlanta Public Schools’ leaders are making the case for COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers, even though more than 40% of school district employees who responded to a recent survey said they are hesitant or unwilling to take the shots.

Of the 3,766 survey participants, 719 said they would not take the vaccine. Another 915 said they weren’t sure about it, according to results obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request.

When APS began resuming in-person learning in late January, some teachers protested that classes should remain online until educators can be vaccinated.

Superintendent Lisa Herring said APS continues to ask state officials to open vaccinations to teachers. Teachers were pushed farther down the vaccination schedule after Kemp and his public health commissioner moved older Georgians ahead of them.

Kemp, in a Feb. 4 letter to the Atlanta school board, said there isn’t enough vaccine supply to begin inoculating teachers. He also wrote that schools can still reopen with safety measures in place.

The governor has stopped short of seeking to force schools to do so.

“Our kids need to be in the classrooms….

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