HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The state says some COVID-19 vaccine providers accidentally gave away doses that were supposed to be reserved for second shots.
“In the short term, we are faced with second dose Moderna vaccine requests far exceeding the Moderna vaccine allocated to the state this week,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Narrows Vaccine Distribution To Hospitals And Healthcare Giants
This doesn’t affect the Pfizer vaccine.
Beam said about 200,000 second Moderna doses were requested this week, which is roughly the state’s entire weekly Moderna allocation.
She describes it as a “structural issue” that started in the beginning of January and “compounded week over week.” Now the state is addressing it because it’s become such a significant issue. Beam says the state is working on a plan to move forward and secure second doses.
“We are working to address it this week. Over the next two to three weeks, we will have corrected for it,” she said.
She would not say which providers made the mistake.
“First, we explored excess inventory not scheduled for administration this week and, to the extent we were able to, used it to address this issue. Second, one of the remedies includes adjusting the timing of the Moderna second dose administration,” said Beam.
Beam says all providers will be following CDC guidelines that say the minimum time in between the first and second shot is 28 days and the maximum is 42.
“By extending the time between doses, while remaining within CDC guidelines, we can minimize any disruption to first dose vaccinations,” said Beam. “Our goal remains getting the extremely limited supply and vaccine to people as quickly and efficiently as possible.”READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Lawmakers Push For Vaccine Registry Act
Beam said there are about 30,000 to 60,000 people who will likely have to reschedule their second appointments one to two weeks later. As for first appointments, there could be 30,000 to 55,000 doses that providers expected that will not be delivered.
Beam said anyone who got the wrong dose does not have to restart their vaccination process.
“There is no difference in the medicine in the first and second doses,” Beam said.
The secretary said people should get their second shot at the same location as their first shot.
Health officials continued to stress that supply continues to be the main problem in getting shots into arms.
Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says it keeps its first dose and second dose separate. As for other sites, she couldn’t say.
At this point, Dr. Bogen doesn’t have a time on when the county sites can expand to all of Phase 1A.
“The last couple of weeks have focused on people 65 and older. About half of our doses have gone to those 65 and older so far,” she said during Wednesday’s press conference.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccine In Pittsburgh: Local Providers Worry About Vaccine Distribution Amid New Changes From The State
The county health department gets about 10% of the county’s vaccines. The majority go to the healthcare systems and hospitals.