Midstate COVID vaccine clinics say appointments filling up slower than usual; Here’s why

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Vaccination sites across the Midstate have a lot of open appointments and the people who run them say those slots aren’t filling up as quickly anymore.

Just weeks ago many Pennsylvanians were having trouble finding any open vaccine appointments at all. Now, there are tons of available spots, even though eligibility expanded this week to every adult.

Bob Dowd is the director of Lebanon County’s Emergency Services. He says their vaccination site is only filling about half of their appointments.

Want the latest on the coronavirus vaccine in Pa.? Visit acb27.com/vaccine for more information.

“In the last week we’ve seen a steep decrease in the demand for appointments. Now that phase 2 is officially here and everyone is eligible to get it we want to see people fill seats, we want to see these appointments get taken,” Dowd said.

Stephanie Andreozzi, co-lead of the Wellspan Health vaccination team, says one possible explanation for that is the increase in supply.

“Now that we’ve got increased inventory, we do have an increased number in appointments and we’re seeing that next day appointments are much more readily available than they were in the past,” Andreozzi said.

Even with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine being put on pause, those running vaccine clinics in the Midstate expect supply should remain pretty consistent.

Michael Ripchinski is the site director of Lancaster’s vaccination clinic.

“I’m hoping potentially from the federal government supply this week, we’ll see increasing amounts of Pfizer and Moderna distributed to those that may be on a plan to get J&J,” Ripchinski said.

Another reason we may be seeing more open appointments is that nearly half of all adults in Pennsylvania already are vaccinated.

“We vaccinated a large percentage of Pennsylvanians in that phase 1a category. We are now working through the remaining phases,” Andreozzi said.

There’s also some vaccine hesitancy that could be driving a dip in the demand for appointments, but the hope is seeing others get their shots will help.

“Spread the word to your family and friends and colleagues at work to find an appointment and get scheduled,” Ripchinski said. “Most likely you’ll be able to get in within the same week at this point.”

While it may be unexpected, these open shots are good news for those who want their shots.

“We expected phase 2, even phase 1c to bring a much larger accompaniment of people,” Dowd said. “I’m a little surprised, but I think that getting the message out there, people know it’s available. There’s no more wait. You can go online and get an appointment right now.”

To sign up for an appointment, visit abc27.com/vaccine or look into one of the Midstate options below:

  • Lancaster: click here or call 717-588-1020
  • Lebanon County: click here.
  • Cumberland County: click here or call 717-918-9880.
  • To sign up through Wellspan, click here.

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