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COVID-19 Vaccine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today provided an update on Pennsylvania’s progress administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff of long-term and congregate care facilities eligible in Phase 1A. To date, more than 193,000 residents and staff of nursing facilities, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose through the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program. Additionally, nearly 10,000 residents and staff of other long-term and congregate care facilities licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) have received their first vaccine dose through the partnership with Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid, and this partnership is being expanded to include residential drug and alcohol treatment providers licensed by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) who identified as needing a vaccine provider.

“Vaccinating residents and staff of long-term and congregate care facilities – people who are often most at-risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if exposed – protects our most vulnerable residents who are not leaving their facilities and homes themselves but are most affected by rates of COVID-19 in our broader community,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “This progress is a much-needed reprieve for long-term care facilities that have been particularly challenged by COVID-19 and community transmission, and it’s a line of defense for our health care system as a whole.”

Pennsylvanians living in these facilities eligible for the federal program are receiving vaccines from CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. As of February 19 all skilled nursing facilities have had their first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses, CVS has completed 100 percent of the second dose clinics and Walgreens is working to vaccinate the remaining second dose clinics before all nursing facilities are complete. More than 70 percent of personal care homes and assisted living facilities covered through the partnership have received their first round of vaccine doses, and CVS and Walgreens expect to finish first rounds before the end of the month. To date, the partnership has administered:

Vaccinations as of Feb. 19 First Doses Second Doses Total Doses
CVS Pharmacy 161,935 86,567 248,502
Walgreens 31,358 9,788 41,146

 

“Through the work of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership’s (FPP) we are able to ensure every nursing home resident and staff member who wants a vaccine can receive it – and we are proud of the progress thus far,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As nursing homes finish administering the remaining second dose clinics, we know that when the federal government’s mission for the FPP program is complete we will remain committed to getting vaccine to incoming residents and staff in the future. The Department of Health and long term care facilities remain vigilant and will continue to vaccinate through existing relationships with health care providers, just as with routine medication and flu vaccinations.”

Other long-term and congregate care settings included in Phase 1A of Pennsylvania’s Interim Vaccination Plan, including group homes for people with disabilities; residential treatment facilities and long-term structured residences for adults with behavioral health needs; and private psychiatric hospitals, are not included in the federal partnership but are still in the Phase 1A due to the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate settings.

These settings serve people who have co-occurring medical needs that put them at higher risk of severe cases and death if they contract the virus. Some personal care homes and assisted living facilities also were not enrolled in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program and may be served by the Rite Aid partnership for DHS-licensed facilities.

Vaccine clinics for these facilities are being held on-site for facilities where people served are not able to travel off-site. Additional clinics are being scheduled at centralized locations when possible to accommodate more facilities and community group homes, which are typically small, private residences. To date, the partnership has administered:

Facilities with First Doses Administered Total Doses Administered to Date Facilities Scheduled for Vaccination Expected Doses through Scheduled Clinics
Office of Developmental Programs Facilities 1,512 4,978 102 753
Office of Long-Term Living Facilities 83 3,539 32 1,920
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Facilities 13 1,342 13 988

 

Nearly 9,900 people have been vaccinated so far through this partnership. Approximately 3,660 people living and working in 147 DHS-licensed facilities and group homes are currently scheduled to be vaccinated through this partnership. Expected reach of this partnership has shifted as some facilities have ended up receiving vaccinations through other contacts.

Additionally, the Rite Aid partnership is expanding to vaccinate residential drug and alcohol treatment providers licensed by DDAP who identified as needing an established partnership with a vaccine provider through a survey administered by the department. Approximately 450 people will be vaccinated at 12 scheduled clinics at residential treatment providers where people served are not able to travel off site through early March.

“Often, residential drug and alcohol treatment providers are forgotten among other congregate care settings, however some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens are receiving treatment for the disease of addiction in these facilities,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “The Rite Aid partnership is another tool in our COVID-19 toolbox to minimize community transmission and ensure all health care providers have established partnerships with vaccine providers.”

Learn more about the partnership with Rite Aid and view more data here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Every day tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

  • This week, a total of 326,850 doses will have been allocated through February 20:
    • 183,575 first doses will have been allocated this week.
    • 143,275 second doses will have been allocated this week.
  • To date, of the 2,766,400 doses allocated through February 20, we have administered 1,867,240 doses total through February 18:
    • First doses, 86 percent (1,387,443 administered of 1,610,175 allocated)
    • Second doses, 41 percent (479,797 administered of 1,156,225 allocated) 

Vaccine Order signed Feb. 12
Last week, Sec. Beam signed an order outlining appropriate steps and recognized best practices to ensure vaccine providers deliver 80 percent of doses within seven days of receipt, provide a phone number where people can speak to an individual to make an appointment and report race and ethnicity data for everyone vaccinated.

Your Turn tool
Last week, Pennsylvania launched the Your Turn tool to help everyone understand where they fall in the vaccination prioritization effort. The Your Turn tool directs eligible residents to the department’s vaccine provider map online to locate a trusted local provider and schedule a vaccination appointment. Your Turn also allows people to register to receive updates about vaccine distribution and allows the department to let you know when it is your turn to get vaccinated.

In addition to the Your Turn tool and while vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

Community preparedness and procedures materials

MEDIA CONTACTS: Barry Ciccocioppo, Health – ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov
Erin James, DHS – ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov
Rachel Kostelac, DDAP – 717-547-3314

Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

Immediate Action Required

Dear Lifesharing Provider Agencies:

The Department of Human Services has established a pharmacy partnership to make COVID-19 vaccines available to individuals and caregivers who live and work in Chapter 6500 Lifesharing Homes.

It is critical that each Lifesharing Agency submit the information requested on this spreadsheet and return it to the Department no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

To enter information, save a copy of the spreadsheet and use the filter button at the top of the column to show only your agency.  Complete the requested information for each home operated by your agency, save the sheet, and send it via email.

If you are not serving any individuals in the home, you do not have to enter information in columns H – O.

Please complete columns I – O even if you are already working with a vaccine provider.

The “Agency Contact Person for Vaccine Arrangements” must be a person from the Lifesharing Agency, not a host home provider.

Please contact send an email with any questions you may have.

 

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

StationMD has shared a recording of their “Town Hall” webinar regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

The recording can be accessed at this link. The access passcode is StationMD*1234.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I get COVID from the vaccine?
    • No.
  • If I’ve had and recovered from a COVID infection, should I still get the vaccine?
    • Yes.
  • Should I be tested for COVID before taking the vaccine if I have no symptoms?
    • You do not need to be tested before taking the vaccine.
  • How can I get the vaccine?
    • At this time, every state, even by county, is different. We recommend that you contact your local Department of Health.
  • If I have underlying health conditions (hypertension, diabetes, etc.) should I take the vaccine?
    • It is recommended.
  • Do I need to take both doses?
    • To have a better chance of getting to the 95 – 96 percent efficacy rate, it is recommended to take both doses.
  • Can I take Tylenol or Ibuprofen before my vaccine?
    • Yes, there are no reports that you should refrain from taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen before receiving the vaccine.
  • Can I take the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
    • You should discuss this concern with your doctor.
  • How can I convince others to take the vaccine?
    • We feel that the best way to encourage others to take the vaccine is to work to educate them with factual information so that they can weigh the risks and benefits and make their own decision.

The information presented here is for educational use only. It is not intended to give personal medical advice. Always discuss medical issues with your doctor prior to making any medical decisions.

The National Guardianship Association, the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging, and the National Center for State Courts have developed a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document for guardians about consent for the COVID-19 vaccine for residents of long-term care facilities. This updated FAQ document includes responses to common questions from guardians regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. It supplements the previous September 2020 FAQ document.

More information can be found here.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – As part of the Wolf Administration’s effort to roll out the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Tom Wolf has approved a temporary waiver that allows pharmacists licensed by the Department of State to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order when vaccines are available to the public. Adding pharmacists to the health-care professionals administering COVID-19 vaccines expands options for Pennsylvanians to be immunized once the vaccine is widely available from the federal government.

“Pharmacists, as well as pharmacy interns and technicians, are critical partners in the commonwealth’s plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “Many Pennsylvanians will go to their local pharmacy for vaccination. This waiver will enable pharmacies to offer the COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order.”

Pennsylvania pharmacists, who meet certain training and other requirements, can obtain authorization to administer injectable medications, biologicals, and immunizations. If a pharmacist has that authorization, he or she can administer any immunization, including COVID-19 immunizations, to persons 18 years of age or older.

Historically, some pharmacies have entered into arrangements with physicians in order to receive reimbursement for flu shots and other vaccinations. Many pharmacies, however, do not have an arrangement with a physician, and even those that do have not had time to incorporate the COVID-19 vaccination into that relationship. This waiver would allow pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccine without such a provider agreement.

“We are working on ways to increase access to the vaccine, and pharmacists already play an important role in making sure Pennsylvanians are protected,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians continue to play an essential role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by masking up, washing up, and socially distancing.”

This waiver applies solely to COVID-19 vaccines for the duration of the Governor’s Disaster Emergency Declaration plus 90 days.

For more information about the Department of State’s COVID-19 response, visit the Department of State website.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621

April Hutcheson

Your Questions and Our Answers About the COVID-19 Vaccine for Direct Support Professionals

January 21, 2021 • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Eastern Time (ET)

Please join our Medical Advisor, Rick Rader, MD, and Biochemist, Mark Macbeth, PhD, to learn more about the newly released COVID-19 vaccines.  Dr. Rader and Dr. Macbeth will teach us about several aspects of the vaccines and will answer your questions about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. Our presenters have distinguished expertise in developmental medicine and the study of mRNA technology, which is the makeup of the COVID-19 vaccine.   This interactive webinar is geared toward direct support professionals and management personnel who support people with disabilities.

Key Takeaways:

  1. What is an mRNA vaccine (which is the type of vaccine that is now being distributed)?
  2. How does the COVID-19 vaccine actually work? The webinar will dispel the many myths and misinformation that abounds in and around the vaccine rollout.
  3. Why is it important that direct support professionals get this vaccine?
  4. The webinar will address many of the safety questions that direct support professionals have about receiving the vaccine.
  5. The webinar will address the professional and personal responsibility that direct support professionals have in their roles of supporting people with disabilities.

Register Now