MACON, Ga. — The Macon State Farmers Market is usually packed with Georgia Grown produce when it's open, but soon, it will be the site where thousands of Georgians will receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Thursday, you could see crews working to set up the facility that by Monday will be one of four operational mass vaccination sites across Georgia.
Those locations include: Albany Forestry Site, Macon Farmer's Market, Habersham County Fairgrounds, and also at the Delta Flight Museum at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller says state leaders chose the Farmers Market off Eisenhower Parkway specifically because it is already owned by the state.
Governor Brian Kemp says another factor in picking the site locations was to ensure vaccine access to minority communities.
"He [Governor Kemp] realizes we have a vast need in Macon-Bibb County for especially our elderly population and our minority population being underserved," Miller said. "He's trying to do what he can to educate everybody but also let us make a key focus point because we're centrally located."
Miller says there's also a great need for vaccinations in Bibb County and the surrounding area.
"Bibb County has 155,000 people ourselves, and we haven't had as many vaccinations as we hoped for," Miller said.
The Governor says the state's goal is to vaccinate 22,000 people a week between these four sites, and he says these locations are just the beginning. Kemp says there will be more sites announced as the state receives more doses and expands the available supply.
"This set up would allow us to work out the issues that arise and be prepared to scale up at a moment's notice as more vaccines are on the way," Kemp said.
How to pre-register
The vaccination sites will open Monday, but you can't just show up and roll up your sleeve. You still have to fall into Phase 1A+ and pre-register for an appointment online.
You can pre-register at myvaccinegeorgia.com. James Stallings, director for the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, says pre-registering is essentially "holding your place in line to receive a vaccine."
It's important to note you still need to be eligible for the vaccine right now. To be in Phase 1A, you have to fit in at least one of these categories: 65 or older, live or work at a long-term care facility, a healthcare worker, or a first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS personnel, or 911 operator).
Once you pre-register, you'll get an email within 24 to 48 hours to schedule your appointment. Once it's scheduled, you'll get a QR code. You'll show that to personnel at the vaccination site when it's time for your appointment.
From there, you'll be screened and later vaccinated.
If you are not in Phase 1A+, you can still sign up on the site for updates on when the vaccine will be available to you.