Georgia will get its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in a week to 10 days, according to Gov. Brian Kemp , but it will be many months before the general public will get inoculated.

Kemp said in a Dec. 8 press conference at the State Capitol that the first doses from Pfizer, which must be kept in special cold storage, will be limited and will immediately go to healthcare workers and long-term care residents.

“The general public will not be able to be vaccinated for months,” Kemp said, warning that pandemic protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing will be in effect well into 2021.

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said the state will eventually have both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but it will take time.

President Donald Trump and his administration faced criticism on Tuesday after The New York Times and The Associated Press reported that the federal government passed on buying additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will now go to other countries.

Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this week with delivery of 100 million doses — enough for 50 million Americans — expected in coming months. The vaccine requires two separate shots.

Toomey said people who take the vaccine will experience side-effects including a mild fever, soreness, and flu-like symptoms.

Kemp also took a swipe at President-elect Joe Biden, who has suggested a nationwide mask mandate. “No government mandate will get ride of the virus,” Kemp said.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.