HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania has reached a new milestone in the effort to vaccinate people in long-term care facilities. The Wolf administration says more than 600 skilled nursing facilities have received first and second doses of the vaccine.
Getting vaccines into the arms of the most vulnerable is part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program with CVS and Walgreens. CVS completed first and second doses at all its participating skilled-nursing facilities. Both pharmacies expect to finish first round vaccinations in participating personal care and assisted living facilities by the end of the month.
“It marks key to progress in ensuring our most vulnerable residents get the vaccine soon and quickly,” Governor Wolf said.
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The Department of Health says there’s still more work to be done and that each facility will have three vaccination clinics.
“This way if someone declines the vaccine in their first or second opportunity, they’ll have another chance to get the entire vaccine, both doses,” said Alison Beam, Acting Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Although the state announced a major milestone, it isn’t enough to determine when it will move into Phase-1b.
“We know that the struggle of 1a right now is that the demand is so incredibly high and we still have a tremendous amount of folks that technically could avail themselves of a vaccine,” Beam said. “They are in 1a but they can’t actually access it because we are still advocating for more supply from the federal government.”
More supply is a call that’s been echoed across the state. Joshua Stauffer with Stauffer’s Pharmacy in Lancaster County has been a vaccine provider for Garden Spot Village, a retirement community, for several years.
“It’s been stressful because we’re trying to plan everything and be as efficient as possible but often not finding out until the night before exactly about what our plans are going to be,” Stauffer said.
Pennsylvania Health Care Association wants to see the state develop a plan for long-term care providers once the Federal Pharmacy Partnership expires.