York, PA - The Wolf Administration today discussed an amended order signed by Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam, indicating that certain vaccine providers must work with local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Medical Assistance Managed Care Organizations (MA MCOs) to schedule vaccination appointments for adults eligible in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination plan.
“We continue to hear from seniors and those with certain medical conditions who are eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1A that they are still struggling to sign up to get vaccinated,” Acting Sec. Beam said. “Our trusted providers and the state’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging and Medical Assistance Managed Care Organizations, are doing a tremendous job partnering with providers to fix that problem and ultimately get our Phase 1A eligible Pennsylvanians vaccinated in short order so that we can continue on the path of making vaccine available for all Pennsylvanians.”
There are approximately two million Pennsylvanians 65 and older within the Department of Health’s vaccine distribution jurisdiction. According to the data reported to the department as of March 19, there have been 1,314,782 residents 65 and older who have received the vaccine at this time. A breakdown of that is available below. Of the 2,699,008 total persons who have received vaccine as of March 19, those 65 and older represent nearly 48 percent of Pennsylvania’s vaccine administration.
From Friday to today, there have been an additional 400,377 residents vaccinated. Age demographics update each week here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx.
“Since Pennsylvania’s vaccination effort began, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) have been providing connections and support for older adults in a variety of ways, such as coordinating with their local health care providers and local government partners, assisting with scheduling, arranging transportation and more,” said Aging Secretary Robert Torres. “Now, through the Department of Health’s amended order, AAAs will be empowered to offer more direct help – because they will have a dedicated vaccine provider partner to work with in order to secure appointments for older adults. In doing so, we are building upon and improving the successful models that have already made a difference in many of our communities.”
“As we seek to keep equity at the forefront of our vaccine rollout process, this direct line of outreach to Medicaid enrollees who are eligible to be vaccinated will help us continue to work towards this goal,” said Dr. Doug Jacobs, Chief Innovation Officer for the Department of Human Services. “Our continued partnership with our managed care organizations and Area Agencies on Aging will help us be sure that Pennsylvanians who are most at-risk in this pandemic have access to these vaccines and will save lives.”
“As we have learned more about the COVID-19 virus, AAAs have made needed changes quickly,” Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging Executive Director Rebecca May-Cole said. “Now that the vaccine is available, they have tirelessly worked to assist seniors by providing information and support to older adults. We appreciate the Department of Aging’s leadership throughout this process, as well as the Department of Health and Secretary Beam’s new order requiring closer collaboration between vaccine providers and AAAs. We appreciate the support for older adults and look forward to a better and more cooperative relationship in the future as we all do our best to ensure older Pennsylvanians get vaccinated.”
The Wolf Administration views this amendment as essential as we work to vaccinate those 65 and older and those with health conditions that makes them eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1A as soon as possible. Completing these vaccinations is imperative in our efforts to provide vaccine equity and to complete Phase 1A as quickly as possible.
Find more information about the order here.
Find FAQs on the order here.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Barry Ciccocioppo, Health, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Jack Eilber, Aging, email@example.com;
Erin James, Human Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
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