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Penn Highlands Receives Vaccine Shipment

According to Andrew Kurtz, Vaccine Lead and Retail Pharmacy Services Director for Penn Highlands, the Penn Highlands DuBois, Elk and Huntingdon facilities will receive 975 doses each of the Pfizer vaccine.

He said the vaccine is stored in an ultra cold freezer at minus 80 degrees celsius.

“Approximately 240 of Penn Highlands DuBois staff in our emergency department, ICU, cardiovascular ICU and lung center will be the first to receive the vaccine,” said Kurtz.

Kurtz said they’ll start vaccinations tomorrow morning at 6 with each vaccination taking about five minutes.

He said it’ll take place in an isolated space away from the public and patient care, that’ll allow for social distancing.

“We expect that follow up shipments will soon follow up this shipment and we hope to have the ability to procure the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine when it becomes available,” he said.

Kurtz said the vaccine will have the greatest protection against COVID-19 two weeks after the second dose.

Starting next week, he said they’ll hold large clinics to get the next phase of employees vaccinated.

He estimated the first round of doses will take three days.

Though this vaccine is great for the health system, the Director of Emergency Services for Penn Highlands said this pandemic is far from over.

“Most epidemiologists believe that 50% of individuals need to be vaccinated for the spread of the disease to plateau,” said Dr. Shaun Sheehan.

Officials said all employees are strongly encouraged to get the Pfizer vaccine.

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