By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – On Thursday, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that Pennsylvania has activated Phase B of the federal pharmacy partnership for long-term care program, which now includes personal care and assisted living facilities.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health also requested the federal government launch the retail pharmacy partnership with two retail partners, TopCo Associates LLC and Rite Aid to expand access to vaccines, health care personnel, and other phases of the state’s vaccine plan.

That plan has two phases: one for skilled nursing facilities and the other for long-term care facilities.

“We are committed to ensuring that vaccine is getting to Pennsylvanians as quickly as manufacturers get it to us,” Dr. Levine said. “Both of these partnerships will help vaccinate our most vulnerable residents and the people who care for them more quickly so that we can move to other groups in our communities. The important thing for Pennsylvanians to remember is that there are limited supplies of vaccine available and our vaccine providers are working as quickly as possible to immunize those in Phase 1A as we look to move forward into other phases.”

Skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residents, personal care homes, and other long-term care facilities are all part of Pennsylvania’s Phase 1A interim vaccination plan.

The federal pharmacy partnership prioritizes those in skilled nursing facilities due to the impact COVID-19 has had on those places.

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By the end of this week, 489 skilled nursing facilities will have had at least one clinic through CVS and Walgreens.

The retail pharmacy partnership will allow more pharmacies to immunize more individuals following the phased timeline laid out by the state once more vaccines are available.

Approximately 110 TopCo member-owned retail locations and 60 Rite Aid locations in areas across Pennsylvania will be able to vaccinate healthcare personnel in Phase 1A.

The plan is eventually to use the locations to immunize those in other phases of the state’s vaccine plan.

“We are pleased to partner with community-based pharmacies across the state to ensure all Pennsylvanians have access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Levine said. “We know that in some communities, vaccine providers have been able to move more quickly through Phase 1A than others. These vaccine providers should ensure that they have indeed vaccinated all nonaffiliated health care providers before they move into other phases. We all have the same goal of getting Pennsylvania immunized as quickly as possible and no provider has been told to stop vaccinating.”

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A full list of vaccine providers can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.