Jun. 10—One pharmacy that has been a leader in COVID vaccinations in Berks County is running its final scheduled clinic this weekend, a sign the pandemic is winding down.
Dipak Patel, owner and pharmacist at The Medicine Shoppe Shillington, is operating a Pfizer second-dose clinic at the Gov. Mifflin Intermediate School on Saturday.
"We're kind of excited, because me and the team, everyone, is burned out," Patel said.
Shots will continue in the pharmacy at 101 W. Lancaster Ave. The pharmacy can deliver about 80 shots a day, Patel said.
Walk-ins are accepted but scheduling an appointment is better at www.shillingtonms.com because paperwork can be completed ahead of the shot.
On Monday, the pharmacy will begin offering $5 gift cards as vaccine incentive.
Across the county in Boyertown, another leader, Ed Hudon, owner and pharmacist at The Medicine Shoppe Boyertown, will continue to run clinics and has one in the works for the 12 to 17 age group.
Contact the pharmacy at www.medicineshoppeboyertown.com or 610-369-3888.
Parents will be required to be there with their children. The state Department of Health mandates that parents fill out permission forms but not necessarily be there for the shot. The department also allows providers to mandate that parents attend.
"As a pharmacist I feel more comfortable having parents there," Hudon said.
Vaccination demand overall has slowed.
"Vaccine hesitancy has crept in while vaccine is readily available," Hudon said.
He doesn't like the idea of incentives to entice reluctant vaccine candidates, saying there were no incentives for those who waited patiently for their turn in the early days of vaccinations.
"I'm here. I've educated. I'll continue to try to that," he said.
Hudon said his effort will continue in the pharmacy and in the clinics beyond the June 28 lifting of the remaining mask guidelines.
"As long as it takes, I'm here for my community," he said. "Our work is not done."
Vaccination numbers for Berks County and Pennsylvania saw a surge Thursday in the state Department of Health daily COVID report.
There were 1,223 more Berks residents completing the inoculation process for a pandemic total of 159,268. The daily total was about 250 more than Wednesday's.
There were 359 fewer in the partial inoculations column for a pandemic total of 44,456.
For those getting the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, the partial numbers migrate to completed.
Those getting the one-shot Johnson & Johnson dose are considered completed. The state does not provide a county breakdown on J&J doses, but there are few of those shots given.
Of 2,700-plus doses given at the Berks County-supported vaccination site since it opened, 168 have been J&J shots, according to county spokeswoman Stephanie M. Weaver. The county intends to close the site by the end of July.
Overall in Pennsylvania, there were about 45,000 more completed COVID vaccinations for a pandemic total just short of 5 million. There were about 18,000 more completed inoculations Thursday than Wednesday.
There were about 9,000 fewer in the partials column, which dropped to about 1.49 million.
The health department reported the percentage of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older who are fully vaccinated inched up to 56.4%.
The Wolf administration will lift the remaining mask order at 70% or on June 28.
"I don't think we are going to hit that (70%)," Hudon said.
The 50% threshold was reached May 20, and by June 1 it was 54.2%.
At the current pace, 60% might be a stretch. None of the vaccinations involving teens contribute to that number and neither do all the residents who have been a part of a federal vaccination clinic.
The state also reported that 59.9% of all residents have had at least one dose.
The Berks population is roughly 421,000, with about 371,000 eligible for a vaccine. The state population is about 13 million.
Other COVID statistics for Berks in the daily report:
— 21 more cases for a pandemic total of 48,232.
— The seven-day average of cases dipped to 23 and the 14-day to 27.
— 14 hospitalized, with four in intensive care.
— Pandemic death toll the same at 1,035 since the Saturday report.
— 560 more cases for a pandemic total closing in on 1.3 million.
— 630 hospitalized, down 20 from Wednesday, including 159 in intensive care.
— 21 deaths for a pandemic total of 27,438.
Each new case is a new person testing positive. Each day's report is a composite of statistics compiled from the previous day.
The Berks coroner's office reported one COVID death Thursday, a 46-year-old Berks woman, the first fatality this month. She died in Reading Hospital shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The state reports deaths of those who identify as Berks residents, and the coroner reports deaths within Berks, which include 53 who are not residents. The coroner's toll increased to 975.
The state will report the death when a funeral home's paperwork is received.
The Reading Hospital online COVID dashboard showed the facility was down to six patients.
New vaccine clinics
The Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center will begin vaccinating those ages 12 to 17 who are caregivers of veterans or are beneficiaries under the VA's Civilian Health and Medical Program, the VA said Thursday.
The vaccine offering will begin June 14 at the vaccine clinic in the gymnasium on the main campus. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Previously, the VA was only vaccinating adults age 18 and older.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 717-228-5965. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Adamstown Area Library is teaming with WellSpan Health to offer a COVID vaccine clinic at the library at 110 W. Main St., Adamstown. The Pfizer vaccine will be available to ages 12 and up.
First dose: June 24, 10 a.m. to noon
Second dose: July 15 from 10 a.m. to noon.
Vaccines are free and will be available by appointment only. Patients must come to both dates for the complete series of the vaccine. Bring a photo ID. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For questions or to register: 717-484-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.