Successful vaccine distribution happening in rural PA

UNIONTOWN — One southwestern Pennsylvania community is moving forward with distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, and their efforts have been very successful.

Health officials in Fayette County have launched a centralized registration system for residents to sign -up for their appointments.

As of Monday, 23,000 people have accessed the site, resulting in thousands of vaccinations.

“We really recognized that there’s a group of people being underserved by the state program,” said Scott Dunn, Fayette County Commissioner.

Fayette County is one of several Pennsylvania communities that does not have their own health department, meaning they have had to rely on the state for guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as of Monday, they are no longer waiting on state health officials to distribute the vaccine in their community.

“We have a large population of elderly who don’t use computers or smartphones, who don’t have this capability. So, that is who we are targeting to reach out to,” said Dunn.

The county has formed a task force to manage the vaccine distribution. In two weeks, the list grew from 12,000 residents to 23,000.

“We have a large population who would not be able to sit on the phone and call pharmacies and hospitals to schedule their appointments. So, that’s where the idea of a registry came in,” said Dunn.

For commissioner Scott Dunn, serving his community has become personal.

“I had a lady call my office today who was 83 years young and I personally entered her into our registry.”

Between WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital and Highlands Hospital, more than 6,000 doses have been distributed in just two weeks.

“To me personally, I think it’s been rewarding to the county to be looked at in this light of we are doing the right thing, reaching out and making sure we’re serving the citizens of Fayette County,” said Dunn.