Harrisberg-The move to allow more older people to get the COVID-19 vaccine could affect the time it takes teachers, prison workers, and other essential workers to get vaccinated. , Dr. Rachel Levin, Minister of Health, said Wednesday.
The Trump administration on Tuesday announced that the state wants to prioritize adults over the age of 65. The state prioritizes healthcare professionals and nursing home residents and staff.
According to Levine, vaccination of older people means that it takes longer for people in other groups who are doing work that requires interaction with other groups to get the vaccine. Until Tuesday, the state was told that seniors over the age of 75 would qualify for the vaccine at the same time as key workers. Under the revised guidance, everyone over the age of 65 will be vaccinated as soon as the state announces a strategy to meet the new guidance.
Levine said state officials are working to update the plan.
“They confused the category,” Levine told members of the Pennsylvania Rural Center at a hearing Wednesday morning. “OK, we’re working in a new category, but vaccination isn’t increasing at this point, so unless the federal government provides more vaccines, other people’s vaccinations will be delayed,” she said. Told.
“They talked about providing more vaccines,” Levine said. “If we see it, we put it out,” she said.
As part of this week’s guidance change, the Trump administration has also indicated that it will not withhold vaccines to provide a second dose in order to obtain as many vaccines as possible as soon as possible.
The state estimates that more than one million healthcare workers and nursing homes are designated for Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution program.
The state has nearly one million vaccines, but only 342,000. According to the US Census, there are more than 2.3 million Pennsylvania residents over the age of 65.
Levine said there will be an online registration form that people will be asked to fill out as the state moves to provide vaccines to older people. This form helps state authorities identify the amount and location of demand for vaccines.
However, once the vaccine dose has been assigned, you will need to make an appointment with your healthcare provider, such as your local hospital or clinic, to be vaccinated.
According to Levine, state officials are demanding that the COVID vaccine be provided to people only by appointment so that there are no lines of elderly people standing outside waiting to be vaccinated. ..
The move to make vaccines more widely available needs to overcome resistance from the general public. In rural Pennsylvania, resistance seems to be stronger than in other parts of the state, said Stephen Johnson, president of UPMC Susquehanna.
According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, rural residents tend to be older, in poor health, less likely to take precautions to reduce exposure to COVID-19, and vaccinated. It shows that there is little tendency to receive it.
He said there was evidence that many locals refused to believe that a pandemic was a serious threat until they directly experienced COVID-19 seriously ill or killing someone.
The deployment of COVID vaccines in the UPMC system reflects these trends.
In Pittsburgh, he said, 80% of UPMC workers provided the vaccine. In Williamsport, 75% of the workers who provided the vaccine were vaccinated. However, he said, in smaller hospitals such as Muncie, Wellsboro and Coudersport, only 60% of the workers who provided the vaccine were vaccinated. At UPMC-operated nursing homes in north-central Pennsylvania, only 50% of staff have been vaccinated with the COVID vaccine, he said.
Levine said the state could be about half of Phase 1A, based on the number of health care workers and nursing home workers who were vaccinated but refused to be vaccinated.
One of the key points of the new federal guidance is now said that states should not feel obliged to fully vaccinate individuals during Phase 1A of the plan before moving on to immunization of others. It was that it was.