Allegheny County begins the process of preparing for the first rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines

Allegheny County begins the process of preparing for the first rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines
Antonia Bailey, a Veteran in our long-term care Community Living Center on the H.J. Heinz III campus, received the first COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 16 at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Shown administering the vaccine is Dana Howell, LPN, as Assistant Nurse Manager Iris Perry, RN, looks on. (VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System)

There is some light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

Ten months after coronavirus cases started appearing in our area, leading to business shutdowns and statewide lockdowns, a Covid-19 vaccine rollout is in the works.

Organizations which have employees that fall into the Phase 1A category-- healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities -- can complete the Covid-19 vaccination form through the county’s online support center.

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That information is being used to develop plans for the allocation and distribution of the vaccine. As doses become available, organizations will be notified of the availability and provided information about how employees may register for an appointment to receive the vaccine.

More than 1,000 organizations have already applied to get their employees vaccinated.

Once Phase 1A is finished, Phase 1B will start. That phase includes first responders, workers in positions considered essential or critical, people with high-risk conditions and anyone over the age of 65.

Once more vaccines become available, Phase 2 will start, and that will cover anyone from Phase 1 who was not yet vaccinated, and other high-risk populations.

The general population will not be vaccinated until Phase 3.

Joe Goode, senior director of communications for CVS Pharmacy, said no vaccines are currently available at the pharmacy locations in Pennsylvania.

“The company is in discussions with several states to make a limited number of doses available in the coming weeks in advance of the broader rollout,” Goode said. “CVS Pharmacy has the capacity to administer 20 to 25 million shots per month.”

Goode said the vaccines will be offered on an appointment-only basis via or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and there will be a dedicated 800 number for people without online access.

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