By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny Health Network says it is suspending the scheduling of COVID-19 vaccination for the general public due to the low amount of supply available on hand.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Nursing Home Deaths Fueling Blame
Wilson’s Pharmacy is one of the few in the state to be administering the vaccine to members of the general public, and Dolores Hison considers herself lucky.
“I was shocked to come in today and find out he had it,” she said.
But don’t get your hopes up. Although the pharmacy is now vaccinating members of the general public 65 and older, pharmacist Jeff Wilson says he depletes his supplies of the Modena vaccine almost as soon as the supply comes through the door.
“Most likely, we’ll be out by the end of the day,” he said.
It’s the same across the state and nation. The distribution network of pharmacies, clinics and hospital systems say they’re ready to vaccinate the general public, but the supply has slowed to a trickle.
Having vaccinated all of its frontline health care workers, outside clinicians and first responders, Allegheny Health Network had been vaccinating people 75 and older. But on Friday, AHN put scheduling on pause until more supply arrives.
“Think of it like a movie theater. When you sell out tickets to a theater, you can’t fit anyone else in. When you can open another theater, you can get more people in. Basically, when we get more supply, we’ll open up more spots,” said Donald Whiting, AHN’s chief medical officer.READ MORE: 'The Neighborhood Jewel': Community Fights To Save St. Philip School In Crafton From Closing
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has less than a passing grade so far after distributing less than half of the vaccines the state has received, and UPMC has drawn some criticism for not making its supplies available to the general public until it vaccinates all of its workers.
But Whiting says the biggest problem is the lack of supply coming from the federal government.
“We’re very optimistic that the new administration in Washington is going to be much more rapid about getting this out,” he said.
UPMC offered its reason for vaccinating all of its workers in the following statement:
The vast majority of COVID-19 exposures of UPMC staff that result in infection or quarantine do not occur inside UPMC facilities, but still have a profound impact on health care operations. Vaccinating all UPMC employees is essential to our ability to continue providing world class care.
In a release on Friday night, the Allegheny County Health Department announced people 65 years and older can get vaccinated at the DoubleTree Hotel in Monroeville starting Monday. The county says an appointment is required, and appointments will be “extremely limited.”
The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can register for appointments for the week of Jan. 25 using the links below:Pa. Sen. Bob Casey Sponsors Bill To Protect Children From Falling Furniture
“The links above connect users to the PrepMod scheduling system used by ACHD and PA DOH. If a vaccination slot is available for a given day, the link will redirect to a page titled “Sign Up for Vaccinations – DoubleTree Monroeville” with the date of the clinic. Individuals will be able to enter their information and select a time for vaccination. Selecting a time for vaccination is the last step of the registration process. After scheduling an appointment, users will receive a confirmation email to the address provided during registration,” a release from the department said.