Georgia state senators support letting more people give vaccines

Nurses distribute vaccines.
Nurses distribute vaccines.(Ryan Wilson, WTAP)
Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 8:27 PM CST
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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia state senators are passing a bill permanently expanding who can administer vaccines during public health emergencies and making some reporting mandatory about who gets vaccinated.

Senators on Thursday voted 47-3 to approve Senate Bill 46, sending it to the House for more debate.

The measure permanently authorizes emergency medical technicians and cardiac technicians to give vaccines during public health emergencies. Gov. Brian Kemp in January cleared the way for the two groups of people to give COVID-19 vaccines using his current emergency powers.

The measure also allows the state Department of Public Health to give information on people who are vaccinated to vaccine programs tracking possible problems, as long as the third parties adhere to federal privacy laws. Normally, adults or the parents of children can opt out of Georgia’s vaccine registry, but the law says that won’t be allowed for vaccines administered as a result of a public health emergency, like the current one.

Sen. Dean Burke, a Bainbridge Republican, said the mandatory reporting is required under an agreement Georgia has with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding COVID-19 vaccines. He expressed confidence that information would be kept private.

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