The Medical Center of Elberton in Georgia reportedly lost its appeal to administer COVID-19 vaccines as the state’s department of health issued a suspension.
The move followed the medical center’s decision to vaccinate teachers who have to return to in-person learning, even though it went against state guidelines.
Brooke McDowell, the medical center’s practice administrator, told local Georgia television station WSB-TV on Friday that they “plan to appeal.”
However, the medical center’s appeal was denied and a six-month suspension from new vaccines will be enforced until July 27, according to the news outlet.
The center can provide patients with the vaccine doses already in their inventory, but they will not receive any new doses until the suspension is lifted.
“Currently, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is very limited,” the Georgia Department of Health said in a Friday statement addressing the suspension.
The move has angered community members and staffers at the medical center, who argue the state is punishing not just the facility but the entire community.
“I’m pretty pissed about it because we are a tightknit community,” Brooke McDowell, an administrator at the medical center, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Our community is relying on us to vaccinate them, and our state has decided, during a pandemic, to suspend our privileges.”
There have been more than 890,000 coronavirus cases in Georgia and more than 13,800 deaths, according to The Washington Post’s coronavirus tracker. There have been 2,067 cases of the virus in Elbert County as of Thursday and 43 deaths. So far, Georgia has administered almost 660,000 first doses of the vaccine, according to The Post’s vaccine tracker. Almost 90,000 people are fully vaccinated.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) pushed back after nearly a dozen superintendents of Atlanta-area school districts