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Lancaster EMS begins distributing COVID-19 vaccine, anticipates at-home vaccinations in the near future

According to Chief Bob May, it's the only EMS agency in the state given the green light to distribute the medicine.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — There is another place for people in Phase 1A of the COVID-19 distribution vaccine plan to get it in Lancaster County. Those eligible people rolled up their sleeves at Lancaster EMS in East Lampeter Township.

Phase 1A includes those long-term care facility residents, nurses, doctors, and other health care personnel. 

You can find a complete list of the phases on the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website.

"Didn't feel a thing," said one woman who got her first dose.

West Lampeter Township Police Detective Steve Heinly described the process as simple and easy.

"I think it's history making, at least in the state of Pennsylvania," said Chief Bob May. "We're told by the Department of Health we're the only ones."

According to May, it's the only EMS agency in the state given the green light to distribute the medicine.

"[We plan to do] 120 this week and then we hope to ramp it up as the weeks go on," said May.

Trained paramedics are focusing on those people in Phase 1A for now.

"We have a small team here, and we want to focus the small team on pockets not readily addressed by large health systems," explained Chief May.

"You walk into a house and wonder if the virus here or isn't it," explained Detective Heinly. 

Lancaster EMS workers are already administering vaccines to people in their homes as part of its Community Paramedicine Program, which FOX43 has covered.

"Getting a vaccine in the home is not new; getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the home is new," stated May. "As soon as 1B opens up, we plan to take it to the next level."

May says they plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in people's homes then too. For now, vaccines are by appointment only at its facility on Lincoln Highway East.

"Once we open this up to the community, we hope to have a portal on our website people can go and sign-up for," said May.

For the ones able to get it now, it's another tool in the toolbelt in combating COVID-19.

"It will provide me more comfort around covid patients, more relief knowing I got the vaccine," said Jason Martin, who does nonemergency transports for Lancaster EMS.

"I think it will alleviate the mental stress. I won't worry about it [COVID-19] as much," added Heinly.

Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout includes: People ages 75 and older, people in congregate settings, first responders, correctional officers and other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, education workers, clergy, public transit workers, and individuals who care for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs.

Vaccines are safe and effective and the best way to protect  you and those around you from serious illnesses. The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to Pennsylvanians in a phased approach.

For more information on the phases of the rollout, visit the Department of Health's website. 

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