After months of waiting, hundred of people across Erie County received COVID-19 vaccines at the Bayfront Convention Center on Monday as the state moved into phase 1-B. More than 700 people received their first dose of the vaccine through LECOM.
Jim Caputo, the clinical coordinator for the COVID-19 immunization program, said as the Commonwealth has expanded, it has been easier to schedule vaccinations.
“It was kind of difficult to predict some things early on,” Caputo said, “but with vaccine supply loosening considerably from what it was, that’s made it tremendously easier to plan.”
Phase 1-B includes people in congregate settings, food and agricultural workers, postal workers, clergy members and many more.
Jacob Weiler, a student receiving his vaccine, said this expansion is a relief.
“I live on a college campus,” Weiler said, “so I think it’ll help protect me, for sure, because there’s just so many people there in close proximity.”
Jason Chenault, senior director of emergency services at UPMC, said he feels confident about the steady flow of the vaccine.
“[We’ve received] approximately 2,300 first-dose vaccines each week from the department of health,” Chenault said. “We don’t anticipate a change to that. As long as we’re continuing to vaccinate, I think that we are going to see a consistent flow of vaccine. Things are really starting to come together.”
St. Vincent Hospital of the Allegheny Health Network is scheduling appointments for those in phase 1-B, 1-C and all individuals who are 16 and older who have not received a vaccine by April 19th.
“Guaranteed, we’re going to receive that supply,” said Stephen Henderson from St. Vincent. “We were able to expand things out, which I think gives people some flexibility and helps to decompress some of the demand.”