PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — COVID-19 vaccination efforts continued today as the supply and demand issue has forced some healthcare systems to stop their appointments.

For a group of primary care physicians, they continued administering the doses they have.

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For Keith Bernard of Oakland, the COVID-19 vaccine was a welcomed shot in the arm.

“I’m very impressed with the operation here,” Bernard said.

He falls into the phase 1a expansion, which started on Jan. 19. It includes people over 65 or 16-64 with serious medical conditions in addition to healthcare workers.

“So our phones were ringing off the hook as more patients now qualify for phase 1a vaccines,” Dr. Natalie Gentile of Gentile Direct Primary Care said.

Bernard started calling around to get his shot but was not finding any availability.

“I tried a couple of other places including Shadyside Hospital with my gerontologist who said they have no idea when they were going to get the vaccine,” Bernard said.

Then he got hold of Dr. Kirsten Lin of Family Matters Direct Primary Care who helped organize the Allegheny County Medical society’s vaccine distribution Sunday. They administered 300 vaccines to private or unaffiliated healthcare workers and other people in phase 1a.

“As long as we receive it, we’ll keep on giving it,” Dr. Lin said.

It was the third week in a row and they were not impacted by the supply and demand issues in the state. In all, they have given 700 vaccines over the past few weekends. They will wait a week and then start the second dose.

“Fortunately we’ve been given the directive that our second doses are not compromised at this point and we will be able to go on business as usual with our second dose clinics,” Dr. Gentile told KDKA.

In the meantime, the direct primary care doctors are starting to set up appointments to get the vaccine to members who qualify for it.

“The supply just hasn’t met the demand, but I think if people are patient we will try to get the vaccine to them as soon as possible,” Dr. Lin said.

For Bernard, he’ll get his second dose in a few weeks.

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“Knowing this is taken care of is a great relief,” he said.

During these clinics, the organizers have been raising money for RIP Medical Debt which helps pay off medical debts. For every dollar donated, they are able to forgive $200 in medical debt. They have raised more than $3,000. To donated visit (link https://directcarepgh.com/)

The Allegheny County Health Department will start vaccinating people 65 and older at their Monroeville vaccine pod location on Monday. Those spots filled up within minutes.

More information:
ACHD is operating a COVID-19 Vaccine Point of Dispensing (POD) inside the DoubleTree Hotel in Monroeville to provide its limited doses of the Moderna vaccine. The POD 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. by appointment only. Those without appointments will be turned away.

Individuals 65 and older and eligible healthcare workers can register for appointments for the week of January 25 using the links below:

January 25: https://cw2-pennsylvania-production.herokuapp.com/clinic/private_registration/uJ3Agv
January 26: https://cw2-pennsylvania-production.herokuapp.com/clinic/private_registration/g1cCdN
January 27: https://cw2-pennsylvania-production.herokuapp.com/clinic/private_registration/wPuDhO
January 28: https://cw2-pennsylvania-production.herokuapp.com/clinic/private_registration/2G0meF
January 29: https://cw2-pennsylvania-production.herokuapp.com/clinic/private_registration/pY84Vxv
January 30: https://cw2-pennsylvania-production.herokuapp.com/clinic/private_registration/QJDATK

Please note that the vaccine registration system will not work on Internet Explorer but works on other web browsers. Users will be asked about insurance during registration, but insurance is not required for the vaccine. The vaccine will be provided at no cost.

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.

An email address is not required for registration but is strongly suggested because reminders for second doses will be sent via email. At this time, ACHD does not have the capability to schedule vaccine appointments over the phone. Once that capability becomes available, the Health Department will publicize the phone number.

If there are no slots available for a given day, users will be taken to the PA DOH’s Getting the COVID Vaccine guide. This guide contains an eligibility quiz and a map to help individuals locate a vaccine provider.

Users may try to find an appointment at the Monroeville POD on another day and may check back often to see if an appointment becomes available. If someone cancels a scheduled appointment, their appointment will be made available. If users cannot keep a vaccination appointment, please cancel or reschedule in order to provide the appointment to someone else.

At the POD, individuals will be asked to provide verification of their age, or employment if a healthcare worker. Anyone who is not able to provide verification, who is under 65 or who is not an eligible healthcare worker, will be turned away. Registering for a vaccine appointment when a person knowingly does not fit the criteria takes away appointments from others in the community in need of appointments. It also hinders the Health Department’s vaccination efforts. Individuals are asked not to register for an appointment at the Monroeville POD if they do not meet the criteria.

Individuals who received a first dose of the vaccine through a different vaccine provider should not use the links above to schedule a second dose of the vaccine at the Monroeville POD. Instead, contact the vaccination provider that administered the first dose to arrange the second dose.

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More information about the COVID-19 vaccines and Allegheny County’s vaccination efforts is available at http://www.alleghenycounty.us/COVIDvaccine. To receive updates about Allegheny County’s vaccination efforts, sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Information subscription in Allegheny Alerts at http://www.alleghenycounty.us/alerts