PENNSYLVANIA, USA — More people are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine through the Phase 1A expansion, but are they actually able to?
"For somebody like me, this [COVID-19] could literally kill me," commented T.J. Bradley of York County.
Bradley is talking about COVID-19, and the increased risk he faces of getting seriously ill from having chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and a kidney transplant.
"Being immunocompromised, it really could effect me. I could be on ventilators and such," explained Bradley.
That's the last thing the York County husband and father of two wants after being on dialysis while fighting through stage five kidney failure. FOX43 captured every step of his journey to finding a living donor.
"It could kill me after me working so hard to get this kidney, effecting my children because I'm not around anymore," he added.
Originally in Phase 1C of the vaccine rollout, Bradley got bumped to Phase 1A and is scheduled to get his shot next week
"I'm excited for that. I'm a little nervous too because I don't know all it will do to my body, but I am going to have faith," he said.
Bradley will receive his dose alongside health care workers, long term care facility residents, people 65 and older, and others with high-risk conditions who are all included in Phase 1A.
"We have had tremendous interest which is a really wonderful thing," said Dr. Mark Goedecker who serves on the COVID-19 steering committee as a physician expert at WellSpan.
Wonderful, yes, but Dr. Goedecker says, with more people included, the health system has some concerns.
"There is always that concern we will not get vaccine. Right now, we do have vaccine, but we want to make sure people have realistic vaccinations expectations moving forward that it comes from the state and federal government," explained Dr. Goedecker.
Meaning if demand soars but supply dwindles, people may have to wait. The goal though is to vaccinate as many people as possible.
"We are hoping we can fulfill everything, there is always the chance as we move farther along, people may schedule and there may not be appointments available," he said.
People can schedule their vaccine appointment on the MyWellSpan website. There are 20 locations where people can get their shots. If you can't find an appointment at the place nearest you, Dr. Goedecker recommends picking another location and seeing its availability. Bradley says he did that and got an appointment sooner.
"We had parts in place to get ready for this, and we continue to work on that and prepare," added Dr. Goedecker. "We have been preparing for this for months. We started having meetings in August and September so we did not know all of the details, but we prepared for a lot of different scenarios."
You can check this guide provided by the PA Department of Health to see if you're currently eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There is also an interactive map with phone numbers and emails of vaccine providers.
Note: Philadelphia County is a separate vaccine jurisdiction and has its own information about vaccine distribution.