Harrisburg, PA - Department of Health (DOH) Acting Secretary Alison Beam and Executive Deputy Secretary Keara Klinepeter yesterday outlined details on temporary plans that will get more COVID-19 vaccine to Pennsylvanians and unprecedented efforts to provide transparency and improve technical resources online.
“Right now, Pennsylvania’s dedicated vaccine providers are making significant progress getting vaccine into the arms of residents in every corner of the state,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “We want to thank all of our providers who have offered tremendous support in getting vaccine into arms across the state thus far. As Pennsylvania’s vaccination rates continue to accelerate, we will continue to adapt our strategy to ensure every Pennsylvanian who wants the vaccine, can access the vaccine.
“As proof that the pace of vaccinations is accelerating, yesterday the CDC ranked Pennsylvania number two in the nation for the number of doses administered per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.”
Starting the week of March 22, a focused network of 200-300 providers can expect to see more first doses of vaccine arriving and will be assured of a steady supply for the next several weeks. Providers must continue to adhere to existing requirements outlined in the Secretary of Health’s Order such as throughput capacity, data reporting and a commitment to reach diverse populations. Providers are encouraged to plan and schedule appointments more than a week in advance based on receiving at least this same amount of vaccine to align with the most recent amendment issued Tuesday, March 16.
The temporarily focused network of providers was selected following an extensive review, which included a survey of all providers and mapping out an initial view of the provider network to receive focused allocations of first vaccine doses over the next few weeks. Providers were selected based on:
- geographic reach,
- access for residents,
- equity across demographics,
- vaccine throughput, and
- estimated demand.
The selection process took into account the ability to administer a high volume of first doses within seven days of delivery while maintaining equity across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines as well as the ability to capture and report vaccine administration data within 24 hours.
The temporarily narrowed network of vaccine providers is designed to reach people with different needs and preferences using a mix of provider types, including:
- Federally Qualified Health Centers, and
- public health providers.
“What we have now is a stronger network of providers who cover 95 percent of the state and are located within a two-mile radius in urban areas, five-miles in suburban areas and 30-miles in rural areas,” Acting Secretary Beam said, noting “Because there are fewer providers we will get more vaccine to them so they won’t run out as quickly as they have in the past. As always, we will be evaluating the effectiveness of the network to ensure that vaccine is accessible and provided equitably and quickly to get people vaccinated.
“Eventually as the supply of vaccine catches up to demand, we will expand the network and all of those trusted local providers will receive vaccine to help reaching even more Pennsylvanians,” Acting Secretary Beam said.
“Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has continuously worked to provide information publicly that is the easiest to understand and provides the most information,” Executive Deputy Secretary Klinepeter said. “As part of that goal, today we are announcing two updates to the data we have been providing: the vaccine provider map and data resources in the Open Data portal. By increasing this information online, we are connecting people to vaccine providers who have doses. We will look to make further improvements to our information sources.”
To provide unprecedented transparency and improve technical resources, the DOH has added the following resources:
- Open Data will offer four new pieces of data, in addition to information on COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations:
- Providers that are receiving first dose allocations of vaccine in a given week,
- Providers that are receiving second dose allocations in a given week,
- Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership provider locations and those providers receiving vaccine allocations in a given week, and
- Clinics scheduled at long-term care facilities through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership in a given week.
- The Vaccine Provider Map has been improved to support those who are navigating on their mobile devices and will be more accessible for those with a vision impairment. The map will now feature only providers who are currently receiving vaccine shipments to assist the public when looking to schedule first dose appointments. Additionally, the map will now have information on the Retail Pharmacy Partnership. Data from the map will now be available for download.
The Vaccine Provider Map will now showcase locations represented with a circle if the vaccine provider is receiving allocations from the state and a diamond if the location is receiving allocations through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership.
People without internet access can contact the Health Hotline by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
You can find the recording of today’s press conference at www.pacast.com.
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.
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”.
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