PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Vaccine providers are telling everyone who is about to become eligible for a COVID-19 shot to register now so they're already in the system when the day comes when they can finally make an appointment.
Appointments are becoming easier to get with multiple health providers reporting they do have appointments available as soon as this weekend. But, with millions more people becoming eligible within days, those appointments could get harder to grab.
Back in January when nearly 4 million people in Phase 1a became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine providers saw a crush of demand that clogged phone lines and crashed websites. Nearly 1 million people are in Phase 1b which the state is currently vaccinating. Monday, 1.7 million more people will become eligible to make an appointment for the shot under Phase 1c. Finally, two million more individuals become eligible for appointments as of April 19th when Pennsylvania opens eligibility to everyone in the state.
Governor Tom Wolf was asked on Wednesday if he is concerned that the amount of people becoming eligible for the vaccine on April 19th could once again cause frustration in scheduling a vaccine. However, he noted doses coming into the state have increased since Phase 1a and the deliveries are better meeting demand.
"I'm hoping that we don't and we're not planning to have the surprises and the log jams that we had the first time around. We think we can do this," he said.
When am I eligible for a shot?
Several vaccine providers are asking people who are eligible to sign up for an appointment now. They also ask people to remember to cancel if they cannot show up so that other people on the waiting list can receive their shots.
"Penn State Health has a number of appointments open at our dedicated vaccination sites," said Jeanette Gibbs of Penn State Health. Make an appointment with Penn State Health here or get on a list to register for the shot.
Officials at the vaccination site in Lancaster are also urging people who are eligible for appointments to make an appointment and those who are not yet eligible to register here.
Wellspan Health spokesperson Ryan Coyle said, "we are booked through the rest of this week across the board, but we do have available appointments across all our counties (Franklin, Adams, York, Lancaster, Lebanon) as early as Saturday and through the weekend.... we encourage eligible individuals to make an appointment through our numerous resources (MyWellSpan and our hotline) and we look forward to the expanding eligibility this coming Monday." Learn how to schedule and register at Wellspan Health here.
UPMC spokesperson Kelly McCall said "UPMC does have vaccine appointment availability at clinics in our central Pa. region. This is due to receiving a more steady and consistent supply of vaccine each week." Find out how to book an appointment with UPMC and register here.
In Cumberland County, appointments are available at the Cumberland County Community Vaccination Clinic on 1180 Walnut Bottom Road in South Middleton Township. The clinic has availability on Friday, April 9, Saturday, April 10 and Monday, April 12. Appointments can be made here or by phone at 717.918.9880, Monday through Saturday 9 am – 3 pm.