CLARION — Clarion Hospital will open its first large-scale, COVID-19 vaccination site on Wednesday in the former Peebles/Gordman’s building near the Clarion Mall.

While a site has been secured for a vaccination site, the process of getting the local area’s population vaccinated still faces a major challenge in securing the approved vaccines.

“The issue right now is a profoundly limited supply of vaccine” Clarion Hospital President Steven Davis said. “We simply have received little vaccine to date. But we are preparing to vaccinate on a larger scale should the supply open up in the near future.”

Clarion Hospital administrators worked with Clarion County officials to secure the location in Monroe Township. The effort also involved obtaining the needed basic resources and support staff necessary for an organized, community approach.

Clarion Hospital collaborated with Clarion County government officials and its emergency management team in planning for the next phase in community vaccination.

“We identified a location within one day and we have been working closely with Clarion Hospital leadership on the required logistics for successful deployment and vaccine administration,” Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan said.

Butler Health System said the state Department of Health surprised the statewide hospital community by substantially expanding the criteria for “phase 1A” community members eligible to receive the vaccine.

“The hospital community is very concerned that not nearly enough vaccine has been released by the state in order to vaccinate all it has deemed eligible under ‘1A’ status,” BHS said.

Because BHS has not received nearly enough vaccine available to accommodate the expanded group, the system said it has been forced to make priority decisions about how to fairly and equitably distribute vaccine. At this time, scheduling requests are limited to health care workers and individuals age 75 or older.

Due to the high volume of request from the community and the limited supply of vaccine, BHS said scheduling requests are suspended at this time. Scheduling will reopen as BHS receives additional supply of vaccine from the state.

“Butler Health System leadership is firmly committed to vaccinating all who are eligible as quickly and thoroughly as vaccine is received from (the state Department of Health). To date, Butler Health System has administered approximately 5,000 doses of vaccine and regularly asks the DOH for additional supply.”

The Clarion plan

“We’ll take care of all of the logistics of storing, handling, administering, scheduling and tracking the vaccine, and Clarion County officials have graciously stepped up to provide the location, security and support staff” said Leslie Walters, who is leading the effort at Clarion Hospital.

The hospital advises anyone scheduled for an inoculation on or after Wednesday to note the location change. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

All scheduling is through Check the website regularly for eligibility and clinic times.

Scheduling is subject to change, including periodic closure, based on vaccine supply.