Smaller, private Pa. practices starting to receive COVID vaccines

Vaccinate PA

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — After starting with big health system and pharmacies, Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout is taking a grassroots approach.

Some people just feel more comfortable going the doctor they’ve seen for years, and that’s exactly what’s happening here at Aspire Care in Dauphin County.

Mass vaccination sites are seeing fewer appointments being filled, but the need to get people vaccinated is still urgent.

“I do think that the mass immunization that eventually came about was an important thing to do,” said Dr. Richard Rayner, co-owner of Aspire Health Concepts. “In fact, I was of the opinion that I think it could have started even sooner.”

But Rayner also thinks private practices like his should have had access sooner.

“A lot of my patients were reluctant to get it from anybody but me,” Rayner said.

Rayner had 600 doses of Moderna delivered two days ago and emailed all his patients to let them know. That included Wayne Stone who just got his first shot.

“No disrespect to any of the other operations that are doing it like say CVS or Walmart. I like the fact that this is my doctor’s office and there’s doctors on hand if there’s any issue,” Stone said.

Rayner was surprised at the response he’s seen so far.

“Honestly the response has been a little bit lackluster and I think because a lot of the most vulnerable people have had it and it doesn’t seem quite as pressing also,” Rayner said.

So now they’re opening up shots, not just to their patients, but anyone who wants to get vaccinated.

“So many people out there, you know it’s like ‘I’m OK. I’ll be OK.’ That’s bologna,” Stone said. “More people who get this the better off this country’s going to be.”

Aspire is making arrangements for after-hours clinics and a Saturday clinic because the Pa. Department of Health says they need to use 80% of doses in the first week.

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