Vaccination Efforts In Westmoreland County

Health experts in Westmoreland County say they are seeing an increase in coronavirus cases. KDKA's Ross Guidotti has more.

Video Transcript

KEN RICE: Health experts in Westmoreland County say they're seeing an increase in COVID cases. It comes as vaccine providers find themselves with vaccine appointments going unfilled. Ross Guidotti spoke with Excela Health's chief medical officer to find out what's happening to all of the unused doses. Ross?

ROSS GUIDOTTI: It seems like it was just a few weeks ago where trying to find a place to get a COVID-19 vaccination was nearly impossible. But now, we have increased amounts of the vaccine out there. But for whatever reason, the public is in no rush to get them.

It was something you heard a lot of this year-- I can't seem to get a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Family members using all manner of device to get a loved one or themselves the much coveted COVID-19 vaccine. And how things have changed.

CAROL FOX: Yes, they-- they definitely have.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: Dr. Carol Fox is Excela Health's chief medical officer. As for why we're seeing this happen, well, Dr. Fox says it could be because the people in group 1A have finally been taken care of. Any other potential reason is vaccine hesitancy. So where's that coming from?

CAROL FOX: That's the $64,000 question. I think that there are some individuals who feel that the vaccine is new, it's not been out there for a long time.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: Questions over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not helping, either. But Dr. Fox says--

CAROL FOX: We have not seen incidences of severe vaccine reactions in any way, shape, or form. Not at our location, nor have we become familiar with that regionally.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: Some vaccines need special refrigeration measures and other things done to keep them from being ruined. That being the case, what's happening to all those leftover unopened doses?

CAROL FOX: It's not that we're experiencing no shows on the day of service. So we're able to-- to keep very close watch of vials that we puncture. And others, we are able to maintain them either in the freezer or in the refrigerator based on the manufacturer's instructions. So that's not been a problem.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: All right, Dr. Fox says, right now when it comes to first shot vaccinations, Westmoreland County has about 45% of its population covered. She'd like to see that number to 70% to 75% full vaccinations because that gets us to what everybody's been talking about since the pandemic began, and that is herd immunity.

Now, if you need a shot, you need to go to KDKA.com, check out this story. In the links and numbers section, there's information to make sure you can make that happen. Reporting live in Greensburg, Ross Guidotti, KDKA News.