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Pennsylvania's Elderly Left Behind Amid Vaccine Rollout

Lynne Sladky
Shirley Kemp, 70, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Jackson Health North Dade Health Center, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Opalocka, Fla. Kemp got an appointment for the vaccine through her church, the New Beginning Missionary Baptist Churc

Each afternoon, we'll be sharing a roundup of the day's latest updates and headlines around the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine rollout in Allegheny Count and across Pennsylvania. 

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021  

The Pennsylvania Department of Health launched a new website Tuesday to help residents understand when they can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The “Your Turn” tool will alert users when they can schedule a vaccination appointment.  

Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a statement that if it’s not yet a resident’s turn to get the vaccine, they can still enter their contact information and will eventually be notified where and when to go for the shot.  

Anyone who's tried to book a COVID-19 vaccine online knows its not always easy and can take a lot of patience. Kiley Koscinski reports since almost all vaccine appointments are booked online, many of the state’s oldest and most vulnerable residents are relying on loved ones to help them get booked.

One Facebook group for those having difficulties booking appointments gained 10,000 members in just a week. Administrators of the page have offered help booking group members and their relatives. Read more here

Sarah Boden reports new analysis shows that just 10% of Pennsylvanians who are age 65 or older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In comparison, one-third of West Virginians and more than 20% of New Jersey residents who are 65 or older have gotten at least one dose. 

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto asked Gov. Tom Wolf in a letter Monday to prioritize immunizing teachers with the COVID-19 vaccine to expedite the safe return of all students to in-person learning. With city recreation and senior centers closed due to the pandemic, the mayor is offering those facilities facilities as vaccine distribution centers for teachers and others eligible in phase 1A of the state’s rollout.

From today's The Confluence:

The state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout caused a lot of confusion, from figuring out what phase someone is in, to the struggle of scheduling an appointment online. 

Those using the Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 vaccination website complain about it being difficult to navigate. 

Karen Kornblum is a web designer and associate teaching professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. She says the state COVID-19 website is attractive but doesn’t meet the needs of people who are visiting the site: to schedule a vaccine.

“I often tell my students, ‘No amount of good design can make bad content usable,’”

Read more here.


Allegheny Co.:

  • 405 new positive cases
  • 2 new deaths


  • 4,088 new positive cases
  • 149 new deaths
  • 2,881 hospitalizations
  • 565 patients in ICU