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Allegheny County Opens Up COVID Vaccines To Those 65 And Over, All Slots Gone Within One Hour

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Sarah Boden
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90.5 WESA
A vial of the Moderna vaccine administered at a Carlow University vaccine clinic on Jan. 15, 2021.

Less than an hour after the Allegheny County Health Department opened up vaccination appointments to people age 65 and older all the slots were reportedly filled.

The county sent out an email notification at 7:17 pm on Friday evening announcing the appointment slots for the week of January 25 at its Monroeville clinic. Then at 7:56 pm on Friday, the department tweeted that all the spots had been claimed, and advised that people could try to find an appointment for "another day and may check back often to see if an appointment becomes available.”

Earlier on Friday, Allegheny Health Network said that it had to pause COVID vaccination appointments, saying that it had scheduled all its available supply. In addition to vaccinating employees, the health care system has been vaccinating recent cancer patients who are 75 and older, and unaffiliated health care workers.

 

The county’s decision to open vaccination appointments to people over 65 came as a surprise -- earlier this week department director Dr. Debra Bogen said the county would continue to prioritize vaccinations for health care workers. The group, along with people at long-term care facilities, was first in line to receive COVID immunizations, as designated by the federal government. 

 

“The Health Department’s supply of vaccine – and the supply of vaccine coming into the county to all providers – is still extremely limited and unknown from week to week,” said Bogen in a Tuesday press release. 

The statewide criteria for who should be vaccinated first in Pennsylvania expanded significantly this week. On Tuesday the state Department of Health amended its guidance to bring the state in line with federal directives. Now the department says that Pennsylvanians age 65 or older, along with people with certain health conditions, can get vaccinated. 

The following day, Bogen said that while she wished everyone who qualified could get the vaccine, but that doing so wasn’t possible given the limited number of doses.

“For the past two weeks...in Allegheny County, together all of our vaccinators -- that’s the health care facilities, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and the health department, received fewer than 20,000 vaccine doses per week,” she said.

 

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