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APS announces dates for mass vaccination events, responds to Gov. Kemp’s comments

Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL

APS announces dates for mass vaccination events, responds to Gov. Kemp’s comments

Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a televised town hall on March 26. Screen shot taken from a live feed of the town hall event.

Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Public Schools (APS) announced the dates and location for the District’s COVID-19 vaccination events for all staff and contractors a press release said.

The events will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium over three days: the first dose will be administered on Wednesday, March 24, Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The second dose will be administered on Wednesday, April 14, Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The District has secured enough allocations of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for up to 8,000 APS staff and contractors.

The date of the mass vaccination event drew criticism from Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday as he was visiting a mass vaccination site in Gwinnett County. Though teachers are eligible today, March 8, the event will be at the end of the month.

“Atlanta Public Schools board sent me a letter demanding that teachers needed to be vaccinated when they knew dang well I couldn’t do that. We didn’t have the supply to do that,” he said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “It was pandemic politics at its best, and now they’re going to wait two or three weeks. I believe that they’re doing a disservice to their teachers.”

In response, APS called Kemp’s comments “unfortunate.”

Here’s the full response from APS:

Governor Kemp’s comments today are very unfortunate and do not reflect the planning, advocacy, and commitment Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has to protect its students and staff.  APS has been a state leader on the COVID-19 issue in public schools from day one. We were not only one of the first systems to go virtual to protect our staff and students, we were the first to use COVID-19 surveillance testing in our system to detect COVID-19 and reduce its spread.  We have been working with the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) since December to vaccinate all educators and, as Governor Kemp should know, are scheduled to provide vaccines on the first day the allocations are available in Fulton County.

APS is thankful that the Atlanta Board of Education advocated in February for accelerating the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for our educators at a time when educators were not expected to be vaccinated until much later. APS stands ready to vaccinate our educators and has been working in partnership with the FCBOH. The partnership with the FCBOH allowed the opportunity to vaccinate our 1A-eligible educators in January. FCBOH has secured up to 8,000 allocations on our behalf. This allows us to guarantee appointments for the vaccine for all of our employees over a short period through mass vaccination events beginning on March 24, 26, and 27. This plan takes into account the availability of a large allotment of the vaccine, which FCBOH expects to arrive on March 22nd.  Our APS vaccination events begin on the first day available for the administration of the vaccine.

Now, APS will vaccinate thousands of our employees as part of the Community Vaccination Center at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium later this month.

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