New Pa. DOH order could cut vaccine supply to many providers

Written by on February 13, 2021

New Pa. DOH order could cut vaccine supply to many providers

By Hayden Mitman

February 15, 2021

A nurse of the Public Health Service prepares a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Don Orione rest home in Rome, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. Elderly at Don Orione rest home received the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday in Rome, in a second round of vaccinations following those for health workers last week. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Healthcare providers across Pennsylvania will have to follow new rules from the state on vaccine distribution or face serious consequences. 

Lehigh Valley healthcare providers could get fewer doses of vaccines if they don’t strictly follow updated state guidelines. Among them is one that includes giving out 80 percent of first doses within a week of receipt, and sticking to group 1A for eligibility. 

That means no vaccines for teachers or others not on the state’s current 1A list.

“If vaccine providers fail to comply with the terms of the order, they may temporarily have their allocations of first doses reduced,” says Allison Beam, the state’s acting Secretary of Health.  

Beam says that the state will also cut down the list of providers giving out vaccines, maximizing shipments to larger sites that can accommodate thousands of people.

“This means that some providers will not get as many first doses of the vaccine as they have in the past,” says Lindsey Mauldin, special assistant to the secretary of the PA DOH.

On the upside, seniors trying to get a coronavirus vaccine are getting a boost from state and local health officials. Another of the new state guidelines requires all vaccine providers to have a phone number for people to schedule vaccination appointments. 

“Using strictly online systems, has left out many, including seniors who might not be tech savvy or have access to the internet,” Beam says. 

Allentown’s Health Bureau received its expected allotment for this week, but representatives at the Lehigh Valley Health Network and Bethlehem say they’re getting less than they requested. 

St. Luke’s University Health Network did not immediately respond to questions on Feb. 12 about vaccine supply for the week. 

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