As the Pennsylvania Department of Health prepares to move onto the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, healthcare system, UPMC says they’re prepared.
Although UPMC and several other hospitals in the area did not make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, over half of UPMC’s clinical staff has since received the first dose.
“We used the influenza season vaccination in the Fall to learn how to more quickly distribute vaccines. Each day and week we get much more efficient and we will continue that activity,” said UPMC’s senior medical director, Dr. Donald Yealy.
Now, UPMC and the state of Pennsylvania are ready to move onto phase 1B of the vaccine distribution, which includes the elderly age 75 and older. But a recent announcement from the federal government… says the age cut off could drop to as low as 65.
“We are absolutely prepared to administer those vaccines. What we need are the vaccines. As soon as we do, we will be ready to go forward in vaccinating those additional individuals in that 1B grouping,” said UPMC’s chief quality officer, Tammi Minnier.
For those people who tested positive for the virus and have since recovered, they are towards the bottom of the list to receive a vaccine. Because as research shows, they could already be immune for up to a certain period of time.
“We do try to delay the vaccine during this initial phase. Simply because there weren’t enough doses. If you have had covid-19 we know you are protected up to 90 days after. Our goal was to vaccinate everyone we can. So, we start with those who have no immunity and then we go back as supply of the vaccine increases,” explained UPMC’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Nace.
For more information regarding the new phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, visit the DOH’s website.