Vaccine network expands to family doctors, neighborhood pharmacies

·2 min read

May 24—The Pennsylvania Department of Health is stepping up vaccination efforts to reach all Pennsylvanians, with emphasis on minority communities, acting physician general Dr. Denise Johnson said Monday during an outreach program in Erie.

To make vaccine information available through trusted sources, the department expanded its vaccine provider network to include local primary care physician's offices and privately owned pharmacies, in addition to hospitals and chain pharmacies.

Some of the new providers are not included in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine.gov online search tool. Individuals are encouraged to check with their family doctor or neighborhood pharmacy.

"We believe that good information will help people make good decisions," Johnson said at Primary Health Network's Wayne Primary Care clinic in Erie.

"We recognize that it is critical for us to meet people where they are," she continued. "We are working with local leaders, influencers, medical professionals, and trusted messengers to ensure that our efforts represent the diversity of our communities as well as to provide the hyper-local approach to addressing anyone's concerns about the vaccine."

Although more than 500,000 of the state's vaccination records don't indicate the race of the recipient, the records that to include race show whites are more than twice as likely as African Americans to have received vaccines and three times more likely than Asian Americans.

Across the state, vaccine providers have administered 10,212,401 doses, ranking the state fifth in the nation for total vaccinations, the department reported Monday.

There are now 4,488,578 people fully vaccinated, including about 52% of all adults.

Another 1,608,374 people are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

Meanwhile, new COVID-19 cases were in single digits and there were no additional deaths across the eight-county region in Monday's update.

Cambria and Westmoreland each added nine new cases, Centre County added six, Blair County added five, Indiana County added three, Bedford County added two, Somerset County added one and Clearfield had no additional cases of COVID-19.

Across Pennsylvania, there were 693 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Monday's update, bringing the statewide total to 1,196,562.

A single death in Philadelphia was the only new COVID-19 fatality reported Monday.

Although reports on Mondays show fewer cases because there is less testing over the weekend, the total 1,549 cases reported Sunday and Monday — collected Saturday and Sunday — is the lowest two-day total since Sept. 21 and 22.

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