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Pennsylvania puts pressure on COVID-19 vaccine providers to speed up Phase 1a shots as people in Phase 1b wait for their turn

The Acting PA Secretary of Health signed an amended order to specifically schedule adults in Phase 1A

With only days until Pennsylvania's March 31st goal of scheduling everyone under Phase 1a for a vaccine, the state is taking new steps to make sure vaccine seekers can get appointments including threatening enforcement against vaccine providers who don't follow through.

PA Dept of Health's Acting Secretary Alison Beam has amended an order that says: 

- A vaccine provider that informs a Phase 1A individual that no appointments are available may be subject to enforcement.  

- Requires providers to have the ability to schedule appointments for individuals into the future

- Requires providers to continue to ensure that appointments can be scheduled both by phone and using online scheduling systems.

- Requires certain vaccine providers to work with local Area Agencies on Aging and Medical Assistance Managed Care Organizations to specifically schedule adults eligible in Phase 1A

The Department has long been promising a March 31st deadline to schedule everyone under Phase 1a as the launching pad to discussions on when to open eligibility to Phase 1b & c. On Thursday, Pennsylvania reached a total of more than one million positive coronavirus cases since the pandemic.

“While it may seem like a daunting task, it is possible with the hard work and commitment of our trusted providers and the help of the state’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging, that have already been doing a tremendous job partnering with providers,” Acting Sec. Beam said. “We want to foster these relationships, leading by example of the partnerships already in place, and meet the goal of getting our Phase 1A eligible Pennsylvanians vaccinated in short order.”

Beam stressed that there is still limited COVID-19 vaccine supply compared to demand so all possible efforts must be made so that the vaccine received in the commonwealth is most effectively administered.

Read the following update from the PA Dept. Of Health:

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 25, there were 3,623 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,000,240.

There are 1,652 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 351 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.

The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per day is about 4,500 lower than it was at the peak on December 25, 2020. The current 14-day average is also below what it was at the height of the spring peak on May 3, 2020. However, the moving average of number of hospitalized patients has started to increase again.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of March 12 – March 18 stood at 6.5%.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

As of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, there were 41 new deaths identified by the Pennsylvania death registry, reported for a total of 24,917 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 14 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 21. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine was first allocated to Pennsylvania the week of March 1, and the commonwealth is using it for a special initiative involving educators. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

Vaccine highlights

·        Vaccine providers have administered 4,614,946 total vaccine doses as of Wednesday, March 24.

·        1,624,654 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of more than 85,000 people per day receiving vaccinations.

·        1,474,731 people are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

·        3,099,385 people have received at least their first dose.

 

  • This week, a total of 5,235,140 doses will have been allocated through March 27:
    • 281,010 first/single doses will have been allocated this week.
    • 253,970 second doses will have been allocated this week.

 

  • To date, we have administered 4,614,946 doses total through March 24:
    • First/single doses:  3,099,385 administered
    • Second doses: 1,515,536 administered

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home, even if fully vaccinated. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 124,149 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 639 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure. 

There are 4,084,343 individuals who have tested negative to date.

In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there are 69,021 resident cases of COVID-19, and 14,160 cases among employees, for a total of 83,181 at 1,572 distinct facilities in all 67 counties. Out of total deaths reported to PA-NEDSS, 12,890 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. Note that the number of deaths reported to NEDSS is not exactly the same as the COVID-19 related deaths reported by the death registry. The number of deaths among nursing and personal care home residents and employees is taken from the PA-NEDSS death data, as this information is not available in the death registry data.

Approximately 26,251 of our total cases are among health care workers.

 Statewide - The Wolf Administration has since noon, Mar. 24:

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.