PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The state moved to open up vaccination eligibility this week, but there are calls to open up faster.
Right now, vaccine availability is restricted to those Pennsylvanians in Groups 1A and 1B. But one way or another, some folks outside of those groups are already finding ways to get vaccinated.READ MORE: Man In Stable Condition Following Shooting In Carrick
On Monday, 6,500 people filed through the headquarters for Dick’s Sporting Good to get the coronavirus vaccine administered by the Allegheny Health Network. But it’s a safe bet that many of them are not part of Groups 1A or 1B.
“We’re having people attest to it online that they meet criteria and by the honor system,” said Allegheny Health Network Chief Medical Officer Imran Qadeer.
Allegheny Health Network doesn’t police the applicants and says there’s no way to truly tell. Spartan Pharmacy tried to hold a clinic on Tuesday for 2,4000 people in 1A and 1B but only got 700 takers. The pharmacy then opened it up to everybody.
Spartan Pharmacy Pharmacist Adam Rice says it’s time to ditch the groupings and make the vaccine available to the general public.READ MORE: Schenley Plaza PNC Carousel Reopens With Safety And Aesthetic Upgrades
“It’s time to open things up,” Rice said. “There are people that want it. … Let’s get them a vaccine.”
But according to state guidelines, that will be in two weeks. In a statement to KDKA, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said it’s sticking to plan — though it does not want to see any vaccine go to waste.
“We encourage all providers to adhere to the vaccination plan which calls for vaccinating people eligible in phase 1A and 1B this week; expanding to 1C next week and every one the week of April 19. However, at the end of scheduled vaccination sessions, if any doses remain, we would rather they put the vaccine into the arms of people who want it, not back on the shelf,” the state said.
Some people who GOT an appointment Tuesday morning say it’s time to open the gates. Joann Tissue wouldn’t have qualified under 1A or 1B but turned Tuesday’s vaccination into a family affair.
“I was able to my niece, my nephews and his wife in today, where they would have had to wait another two or three weeks for their first shot,” Tissue said.
Still, AHN isn’t advising anyone to cut the line.MORE NEWS: Investigation Leads To Largest Heroin And Fentanyl Bust In Indiana County
“I would ask the public to be patient and wait your turn,” Qadeer said.