PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The number of available coronavirus vaccines continues to be an issue everywhere, including Allegheny County.
But leaders said Tuesday that plans for larger distribution efforts are in the works for when the vaccine is made widely available.
According to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, the county has received more than 7,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines to date.
Four thousand of those doses arrived Monday and are currently being distributed inside the Monroeville Convention Center, the latest county distribution site.
Vaccines are being distributed by appointment only for select health care workers who met the criteria of Phase 1A.
“A large operation like UPMC or AHN, they can distribute in their own facilities. But if you’re a doctor’s office with three or four people, you’re not going to be on the list to get that large quantity,” said Fitzgerald.
The county is also working on making the vaccine available to employees working in the jail and others who interact with people on the job.
“These would be certain county employees that are frontline workers. For example, people in the health department who are giving out shots, people who work with our homeless in the Department of Human Services,” said Fitzgerald.
But still, access to a large stock of vaccine remains an issue. County leaders are hoping to get as much vaccine as possible and said they will be ready to distribute more when the time comes.
Preparations for those large-scale distributions are on the horizon. Leaders are searching for places to house operations. Fitzgerald could not confirm specific locations.
But those spaces are likely to follow the lead of what the county has already found.
“Places like the Monroeville Convention Center, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, gymnasiums, places that have a lot of space are the places you’d be looking at,” said Fitzgerald.
Right now, the county is not considering stadium-type venues like Heinz Field. That’s because of their open designs and potential weather challenges while people wait for the process to be over.
“They have to stay around for 15 or 20 minutes to see if there’s going to be any reaction. You don’t just go in and go out,” said Fitzgerald.
And instead of just one large space for vaccine distribution, leaders are hoping to have multiple ones fanned out across the county to cover more ground.