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Department of Health: Cancel Duplicate Appointments to Help Ensure Vaccine is Available for All

04/09/2021

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam today urged all Pennsylvanians to remember to both attend a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and cancel any unneeded appointments so that all vaccine doses get into the arms of people. 

“All three available vaccines are safe and effective, and we need folks to get the first available vaccine,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “If you have scheduled appointments at numerous places as part of your attempt to get vaccinated, please remember to call those other locations and cancel the remaining appointments. You can let them know that you have been vaccinated. 

“Each time someone is a no-show for an appointment, it increases the chances of a dose of vaccine being wasted if the appointment cannot be refilled by someone else who has not yet been vaccinated.” 

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available, Janssen, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. All three vaccines are safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations, serious illness and death. It is important that Pennsylvanians take the first vaccine available to help quickly and efficiently vaccinate as many people as possible.

Vaccine providers work to ensure vaccine is ready for each appointment made. When someone does not show up for an appointment, their dose has already been removed from the storage requirements and often has to be used that day. 

Previously, vaccine providers who had leftover doses for individuals who did not show up for their scheduled appointment called others who were on waiting lists. However, many vaccine providers have exhausted waiting lists.

When an individual receives their first dose (or single dose) of vaccine, it is important to call other locations where they may have also scheduled an appointment. This will not only prevent waste, but also allows that appointment slot to be opened to someone who still needs to be vaccinated.

Vaccine dose waste is very low – less than one-tenth of one percentage point and missed appointments are thought to be a cause of some waste, not to mention that an unfilled appointment means one less person getting vaccinated in a timely manner.

“Throughout this pandemic, Pennsylvanians have shown their commitment to working together,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “As we work to vaccinate all those who wish to be vaccinated, we ask people to give a courtesy call to cancel unneeded appointments with other providers with whom they previously scheduled appointments. This will allow us to ensure that each shot is put into the arm of a person.”

It is also important that people visit their vaccine provider for their second dose. Providers are working to schedule second dose appointments at the time of first dose appointment or immediately after first doses are received. 

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts: 

·         The Your Turn tool provides a way to register to be alerted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. 

·         commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258

·         Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.  

·         All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.  

·         Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.  

·         Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.  

·         Frequently asked questions can be found here.  

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19: 

·         Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 

·         Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands. 

·         Clean surfaces frequently. 

·         Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell. 

·         If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing. 

·         Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”. 

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics 

·         Daily COVID-19 Report 

·         Press releases regarding coronavirus 

·         Latest information on the coronavirus 

·         Photos of the state’s lab in Exton (for download and use) 

·         Coronavirus and preparedness graphics (located at the bottom of the page) 

·         Community preparedness and procedures materials 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Barry Ciccocioppo, ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov 

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