LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — "This is a big logistical operation. It will be the first logistical operation of its type, if we can do it, in the Commonwealth," said Josh Parsons, Lancaster County Commissioner.
During a work session Tuesday morning, commissioners said they couldn't disclose where that big logistical operation will be in Lancaster County just yet. They stressed the information is forthcoming.
"We're working very hard with the centrally-located site that we've had planned for the community vaccination center," said Dr. Michael Ripchinski.
The new goal for the center is 6,000 shots per day. That's an increase of 1,000 from the previous goal.
"There is no doubt in our minds we easily have the interest," added Dr. Ripchinski.
Having enough doses continues to be the concern.
"This is all about vaccine availability. We can build a huge, expensive, operation, but if there is not enough vaccine for it, we can't operate," added Parsons.
"We're particularly concerned about having the vaccine volume out of the gate, so we're continuing to look at a pilot and phased process such that as we get more vaccine allocated to us from the Commonwealth, we'll be able to vaccinate that many people per day," explained Dr. Ripchinski.
All four of the county's health systems, UPMC, WellSpan, Penn State Health, and Lancaster General Health, are on board with the plan. LGH will be the managing partner.
"I would say the greatest next challenge we face is to effectively identify and train the staff who will need to understand what the training is, and we create a well-oiled and processed machine to effectively vaccinate the community," he added.
Part of that involves having a simpler way to schedule appointments. The plan is to have a central call center so people can dial-in and speak with someone in addition to an online sign-up system.
"We are talking to software vendors who have the ability to support statewide vaccination work," explained Dr. Ripchinski. "I hope [no crashing]."
Dr. Ripchinski says he and many others have dedicated countless hours to the effort.
"Personally I am a family physician. I practice in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. My family lives here. I work here. It means very much to be that we get as many people vaccinated," added Dr. Ripchinski.
Dr. Ripchinski expects the center to open in March and believes it will remain up and running for several months.
On February 1, the county opened a website for vaccine distribution. People can search www.vaccinatelancaster.org or click the link below.