Where is the vaccine?
By Paposi-Jobb, Andor and Jae Brown Jobb
We are writing from Emlenton where we are confused by the constantly changing roll out dates for COVID vaccine for phase 1B.
We have kept in close touch with our local Emlenton UPMC Family Care Practice for over a month, and to this date, they have absolutely no information concerning a statewide rollout date for the 1B phase.
We then called our local Department of Health, and they, too, have no forecasted date for a COVID vaccine release for phase 1B.
We did learn that some area hospitals - perhaps UPMC Northwest, Clarion, UPMC/AGH and Butler were administering vaccines to their 1A phase medical staff "in-house" with no drive-in accommodation.
We also learned "many" area nursing home patients and staff have received their 1A phase COVID vaccine dosages from both CVS and Walgreens, which is/was administered by the nursing home staff.
No one has been able to tell us -- regarding phase 1B -- the date of the rollout,when vaccines will be released, and in what quantities.
No one was able to tell ushow many dosesof COVID vaccine have already been delivered toour areafor phase 1A and to whom.
No one was able to tell uswhat quantity remainsfrom the various deliveries of phase 1A COVID vaccine allotted to our area, andwhenthey were delivered.
We are unable to discernwhat Pennsylvania agency actually controls and apportions access to the various counties in our state for COVID vaccine.
We cannot find anystatistics that show -- county by county -- how COVID vaccine has/and will be apportioned.
We did learn Butler Hospital (BHS) released this information: "As it is received, BHS is distributing vaccine. The only approved recipients at this time are state Department of Health approved providers (Group 1A).
"BHS has very limited supply of vaccine. Vaccine is distributed as quickly as it is received.
"(State) DoH controls distribution of the vaccine."
We find this statement to be ambiguous "Vaccine is distributed as quickly as it is received."
Who at BHS puts out the notice and why is no effort given to grant appointments based on the most serious needs rather than engendering a "Race for the vaccine?"
As the pandemic continues to escalate we are deeply concerned about the rollout of the COVID Vaccine everywhere; but particularly in our small rural area where many are at increased risk because some choose to regard COVID as a hoax, and where many others eschew mask wearing and social distancing.
There is nothing we can do to influence such choices - the only safeguard for those whoconsider themselves at risk is to seek the COVID vaccine according to our assigned phases.
We desperately need to knowwhen and where we can receive this possibly lifesaving COVID vaccine when we are eligible.