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Health Leaders Advise Residents To Take Whatever COVID-19 Vaccine Is Available

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Katie Blackley
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90.5 WESA
A Giant Eagle pharmacist raises her hand to indicate she's available to give the COVID-19 vaccine to another patient.

A letter released Thursday by medical leaders from the region’s 12 health care systems says vaccination is the quickest path to return to normal.

Rather than wonder about the differences between the vaccines, the letter advises that all three vaccines protect against severe illness and death. Some people may be reluctant to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as trial data showed a lower efficacy when compared to data from the Moderna and Pfizer trials.

WESA's health reporter Sarah Boden said it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison of the three vaccines since the Johnson & Johnson trials occurred during a later stage of the pandemic when the virus had mutated into different, more concerning variants.

But importantly, once enough time had passed for maximum immunity to take effect, there were no hospitalizations or deaths among trial participants who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The same is true of Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines.

Giant Eagle extends COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Heinz Field

Appointments for March 8 and 9 will be made available tomorrow afternoon. The clinic is for people eligible under Phase 1A of the state’s vaccine plan. Giant Eagle couldn’t say how many appointments will be available.

Kiley Koscinski reports eligible people can book their appointments through the Giant Eagle website beginning Friday afternoon.

State to open 30 vaccine clinics

As part of a special state initiative, Pennsylvania plans to operate nearly 30 COVID-19 vaccinate clinics to inoculate school teachers and support staff.

WHYY’s Aaron Moselle reports the clinics are expected to open the second half of next week.

They’ll be open daily and vaccinate between five hundred and a thousand employees each day

“All appointments will be scheduled using an online scheduling tool, which will make it easier to regulate the flow of individuals through the clinic to provide for maximum efficiency,” said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency director Randy Padfield.

All participants will receive the newly-approved one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

“The vast majority of the clinics will be able to provide up to 500 vaccinations a day, with some clinics and IUs with larger numbers of educators and support staff being able to support up to 1,000 doses a day,” Padfield said.  

The clinics are part of a plan to get all teachers and support staff vaccinated by mid-April so kids can return to the classroom.

AHN holds clinic tomorrow

Some 5,100 people will get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow in the parking lot of Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Corporate Office—located in Coraopolis. Allegheny Health Network providers will be administering the vaccine to those who fall into the state’s 1A category. Sarah Boden reports the clinic is open only to those who have pre-registered, and all appointments have been filled. No walk-ins will be accepted. Second doses are scheduled for March 26. 

LATEST NUMBERS:

Allegheny County:

  • 276 new cases
  • 2 new deaths

Pennsylvania

  • 3,028 new cases
  • 50 new deaths
  • 1,648 hospitalizations
  • 356 patients in the ICU
  • 2,666,598 vaccine doses administered