Must administer 80% of COVID-19 vaccine within 7 days, acting Pa. Secretary of Health says

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued an order Friday directing vaccine providers’ administration of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that Pennsylvanians are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The order states that vaccine providers must administer 80 percent of their first doses of vaccine received within seven days of receipt of those doses, as well as making second-dose appointments when the first dose is administered. They must also adhere to the current phase of the state’s vaccine rollout, while having both an online and a phone-based registration system for direct appointment scheduling.

“I understand how frustrating the current vaccine process can seem and we have heard from many Pennsylvanians that are struggling to schedule an appointment,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As there is very limited COVID-19 vaccine supply compared to demand, every possible effort must be made so that the vaccine received in the commonwealth is effectively administered. To achieve this goal, I am issuing an order outlining appropriate steps and recognized best practices to ensure vaccine providers are effectively meeting the goal of vaccinating Pennsylvanians and creating a healthy Pennsylvania for all.”

If vaccine providers fail to adhere to the order, they may have their allocation of first doses reduced, or temporarily suspended.

If a vaccine provider doesn’t administer 80 percent of its first doses within seven days of receiving those doses, the provider will still be able to receive second doses, as second doses are secure. The department may grant a vaccine provider additional time to meet the 80 percent administration metric if the vaccine provider informs the department of inclement weather or infrastructure failures outside of the provider’s control, which impacted the vaccine administration.

The order goes into effect today, with the online and phone-based registration system requirement effective Feb. 19 and allocation enforcement effective Feb. 22.