Local providers prep for massive expansion of vaccine eligibility in Pa. this month

Written by on April 5, 2021

Local providers prep for massive expansion of vaccine eligibility in P. this month

By Genesis Ortega

April 5, 2020

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. U.K. health authorities rolled out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, starting a global immunization program that is expected to gain momentum as more serums win approval. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

Starting today more Pennsylvanians are eligible to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines. The newly opened 1-B group includes grocery store employees, members of the clergy, corrections officers and other essential workers.

And local health systems are gearing up for a surge in appointment requests. 

Dr. Alex Benjamin is the Chief Infection Control Officer at Lehigh Valley Health Network. He says one issue is making sure older people can still schedule appointments.

“Certainly people have already had challenges with accessing technology, getting through the phone lines to schedule vaccines. We’re faced with the challenge of not only being able to offer first dose vaccines to people but keeping up with our continued trend of giving out those second doses as well,” Benjamin says.

But as far as vaccine supply goes, he says for the most part that issue has been addressed, and the network is receiving more supply. “In the previous rollout of 1A, I think our biggest concern was that the supply of vaccines could not match the demand for vaccine.” 

A spokesperson from St. Luke’s says it can expand its vaccine program to give shots to more people as long as they get enough doses from the state. 

All adults in the state will be eligible for a shot starting on April 19th. 

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