Pennsylvania ready to provide booster shots for COVID-19 after CDC approval

Your Local Vaccine HQ

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

HERSHEY — On Tuesday, acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam signed an order to make sure COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are ready once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the necessary federal guidance.

“Vaccine providers — especially pharmacies — have already done a tremendous job administering more than 12 million vaccines across the state,” Beam said during a news conference at the Hershey Pharmacy. “Now, they are ready to get booster shots to people as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to discuss boosters on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 22-23, and is expected to make recommendations and provide guidance to vaccine providers following the meeting.

The Department of Health’s order requires vaccine providers, when possible, to:

  • provide online scheduling for vaccination appointments,
  • provide a telephone number, with prompts to a live agent during normal business hours, to assist in scheduling appointments,
  • offer walk-in appointments, and
  • work with local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and Medical Assistance Managed Care Organizations (MCO) to help schedule eligible adults and people who cannot leave their homes.

“COVID-19 vaccines do work,” Hershey Pharmacy Owner and Pharmacist Chuck Kray said. “They are safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness. We are seeing the highly contagious delta variant and it is sending case numbers soaring throughout our area… Our team is still administering about 100 shots per week in Hershey Pharmacy and at area nursing facilities, clinics and schools.”

Currently, there are more than 2,000 vaccine providers across the state with COVID-19 vaccine inventory. To date, vaccine providers have administered 12.6 million total vaccine doses. More than 6.1 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of more than 15,600 people per day receiving vaccinations.

“The data is abundantly clear that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing hospitalization and death,” said Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “We continue to urge every eligible person to get the vaccine, not only for themselves, but to protect their family and loved ones, especially kids under 12 who are too young to get the vaccine.”

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced since January 2021, 97 percent of COVID-19-related deaths and 95 percent of reported COVID-19 hospitalizations were people who were either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

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