Pennsylvania Hospitals: Not Enough Vaccine To Go Around

13 hours ago
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Some of Pennsylvania’s largest health systems are delivering a reality check after the state greatly expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine this week, pointing out there's not nearly enough supply to meet surging demand.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that people over age 65 are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as are other adults and older teens with certain health conditions. Health and science reporter Sarah Boden looks into the local data on inoculation.

David Swanson / File via Spotlight PA

The state Department of Corrections has doubled down on its policy not to always inform families of inmates who are sickened or killed by the coronavirus, saying it’s the responsibility of inmates to ensure their emergency contacts are complete and accurate.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

On today's program: Reporter Kate Giammarise explains why fewer people are receiving welfare from the state, despite the pandemic’s ongoing economic impact; Two students from Brashear High School talk about what it’s like to finish senior year learning from home; and after November’s election, voting reform is expected to be at the top of lawmakers’ agendas this year.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Health care workers at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital say some of the hospital’s COVID-19 practices don’t sufficiently protect patients or staff from contracting the coronavirus – and that social-media posts from a supervisor questioning the severity of the pandemic have made the situation even more nerve-wracking.

Photo by Joshua Sweeny / Courtesy of Attack Theatre

Attack Theatre is that rare established Pittsburgh arts group that moved its headquarters during the coronavirus pandemic. Now it’s showing off its new home in a short film whose production was itself an adaptation to the era of physical distancing.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Employees of licensed child care facilities in Pennsylvania will be eligible for a one-time, $600 grant to reward them for providing a valuable service through the pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Wednesday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Health Department is strongly encouraging COVID-19 vaccine providers wait to vaccinate individuals age 65 and older and younger people with high-risk health conditions. The direction was announced hours after Pennsylvania health officials expanded the so-called Phase 1A category to include those individuals.

Pennsylvania Expands Vaccine Eligibility To 65 And Older

Jan 19, 2021
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the rollout to include people age 65 and over as well as younger people with serious health conditions that put them at higher risk, state health officials announced Tuesday.

Courtesy of Allegheny Eats

A meal kit service is combining regionally sourced ingredients with Pittsburgh restaurant recipes — and funds from each kit purchase provide free meals to local restaurant workers.

Advocates Call For Postponement Of Test For English Learners

Jan 18, 2021
Jeffrey Stockbridge / Keystone Crossroads

Pennsylvania students who are learning English typically spend the beginning of the calendar year preparing for a standardized test to determine their proficiency.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

Less than 42% of the more than 1 million vaccine doses allocated to Pennsylvania have been adminstered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Annette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

President-elect Joe Biden is outlining his COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Wilmington, Del. Biden has been critical of the current administration's effort and is seeking to speed up the process. The announcement comes a day after Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Watch his remarks live.

Matt Slocum / AP

On this week's Explainer:

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been slow and uneven.

Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP/file

Dr. George Garrow with Primary Health Network says trust will be critical for the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Charday Richardson doesn’t have the choice to work from home: She’s a medical assistant in a dermatology practice that sees over 40 patients a day.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County officials are urging local COVID-19 vaccine providers to inoculate frontline health care workers over those further down the state's prioritization list. County health department director Dr. Debra Bogen said providers should contact the county if they can’t find groups of phase 1A workers.


When a UPMC service coordinator received notification this month that it was her turn to get the COVID vaccine, she was surprised. 

U.K. Coronavirus Variant Found In PA Adds Risk To Hospitals

Jan 13, 2021
Jae C. Hong / AP

The emerging COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom does not appear to be more likely to kill an infected person, said Dr. Muhammed Ali, an infectious disease consultant at Penn State Health Holy Spirit in Camp Hill. 

Pennsylvania Department of Health

With substantial COVID-19 transmission rates in all 67 counties, the Pennsylvania Department of Health today shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s case investigation and contact tracing efforts, and again encouraged Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app in order to help the commonwealth track cases.

Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate

On today's program: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court strikes down a proposed constitutional amendment that would build victim’s rights into the state constitution; and Julie DeSeyn, United Way Chief Programming and Policy Officer, discusses how the local chapter is helping Pittsburghers through the pandemic. 

Pennsylvania Department of Health

The state health department has created a map that lists COVID-19 vaccine providers across Pennsylvania. Providers who currently offer vaccines and those that eventually will as the state’s roll out enters its later stages are included.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania officials announced 5,338 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and 7,506 from the previous day. The total number of infections since the start of the pandmeic is now 726,154.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

On today's program: An infectious disease physician says the arrival of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 should be motivating the vaccination rollout; The Pittsburgh Penguins received nearly $5 million as a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program; and the 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show has gone virtual this year.

More contagious COVID-19 variant has reached Pennsylvania
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Matt Rourke / AP

The state Department of Agriculture is inviting viewers down a “rabbit hole of Pennsylvania agriculture” during its first ever virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Courtesy of the Mendelssohn Choir

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, it became clear that indoor choral singing was among the riskiest behaviors one could engage in. So the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, like so many group artistic endeavors, hasn’t had any in-person activities for some 10 months.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Pennsylvania on Friday released an updated coronavirus vaccine plan that makes more people eligible for shots in the initial phases of the rollout. Health care workers and nursing home residents remain at the front of the line, followed by people 75 years and older and "essential workers" like police officers, grocery store clerks and teachers.


Many Pennsylvania dentists, pharmacists, midwives, translators and others who work directly with patients in health care settings are still waiting to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine signed an order directing hospitals to designate 10% of their COVID-19 vaccine shipment for non-hospital workers.

PA Pushes Schools To Reopen

Jan 7, 2021
Office of Gov. Tom Wolf

Pennsylvania nudged school districts to reopen elementary schools Thursday by changing its official guidance.

Matt Slocum / AP

A new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Pennsylvania for the first time, state health officials announced Thursday.