Breaking Coronavirus Vaccine Barriers In Pa.

Equity is a huge conversation when it comes to vaccine distribution. KDKA's Nicole Ford has more on what the state is doing to help get more shots in arms.

Video Transcript


STACY SMITH: Equity has become a critical issue when it comes to vaccine distribution. How do you make sure everyone has equal access? Well, the answer from the state is partnerships. Good evening, I'm Stacy Smith.

KYM GABLE: And I'm Kym Gable. So what does this all mean for homebound patients? Nicole Ford is live with the efforts to make sure they get vaccinated as well. Nicole?

NICOLE FORD: Stacy, Kym, we've talked about the forgotten health care workers, but what about that forgotten vulnerable population? The people stuck at home who can't get out to get the shot? Well, new efforts are ramping up to target that exact population. Breaking down vaccine barriers.

TERESA MILLER: We need partners in order to reach Pennsylvanians where they are.

NICOLE FORD: The state is working with different organizations to open up the availability and access to the shot.

BRENDAN HARRIS: COVID has been incredibly detrimental to the population that we serve. It's devastated certain pockets of it. And, you know, being able to have this vaccine available to them is really critical.

NICOLE FORD: UPMC is one of the partners working to get people appointments who don't have internet or rides to clinics if they don't have transportation. But what about those who can't leave the house?

NATALIE GENTILE: They still have health care workers coming into the home, family coming into the home, and it puts them at risk still for being, you know, morbidly ill from COVID-19.

NICOLE FORD: Dr. Natalie Gentile is with Direct Care Physicians of Pittsburgh. The group is gathering names and plans to send volunteers out this Saturday to give out vaccine doses to those stuck at home.

NATALIE GENTILE: We have patients that are interested. Reaching out to North Huntington, all the way down south near Washington, PA, all the way northwest to-- really, all over.

NICOLE FORD: She says it's a growing need. And this group wants to make sure the option is available for whoever may want it.

NATALIE GENTILE: It's really important when we have such big vaccination clinics that we realize that some people aren't able to stand in line, for example. At even these beautifully well run vaccination clinics, they're not able to stand in line for a long period of time or even get in a car to get there. So it really, I think, speaks to the importance of having the opportunity for everyone to be involved with giving the COVID vaccine.

NICOLE FORD: Right now the Direct Care Physicians of Pittsburgh have about 60 people signed up to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine this weekend. If you are interested in putting your name on that homebound list, we'll be posting that information on Reporting live tonight, Nicole Ford, KDKA News.