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A UGA student gets tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site in Athens, Georgia on Friday, June 12, 2020. An appointment-based drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination and testing site opened at 355 Oneta Street in Athens on Jan. 12, 2021. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

The Northeast Health District opened an appointment-based drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination and testing site at 355 Oneta St. in Athens Tuesday, according to a press release from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Georgia has begun offering COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older and first responders. The vaccine has already been available to health care workers and long-term care facility residents.

The new drive-thru vaccination site was opened to keep up with demand, according to the release. While there were previously drive-thru testing sites on Mitchell Bridge Road in Athens and at the Winterville Center for Community and Culture, both have been closed.

Those eligible are required to make an appointment online or over the phone. Priority is given to people living or working in the Northeast Health District — which includes Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton counties. Vaccines and testing are free of charge at the site.

The two vaccines available, from Moderna and Pfizer, have demonstrated similar potential side effects including temporary arm soreness, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain and fever. Vaccines will be given in two doses spaced several weeks apart, and had a 94-95% effectiveness in clinical trials.  

Despite vaccine availability, Dr. Stephen Goggans, district health director, warned in the release that supply is limited, and urged people to continue wearing masks in public and practice social distancing even as the vaccine is rolled out.

Correction: Dr. Stephen Goggans' name was misspelled in a previous version of this article. The Red & Black regrets this error, and it has since been fixed.