Frustrations mount over COVID-19 vaccinations as more school districts set to get shots

Frustrations mount over COVID-19 vaccinations as more school districts set to get shots

GREENSBURG, Pa. — Margie Stanislaw and her husband are both over the age of 65 and say they have existing health conditions. She said she wakes up every day and spends hours trying to find a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

She’s getting increasingly frustrated that school districts in Westmoreland County have already been able to vaccinate employees.

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“Now I’m in 1A and they’re in 1B, but they’re going to get vaccinated next week and I don’t have an appointment yet. So that means we’re being pushed back,” she said. “It’s been absolutely impossible.”

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health sent Channel 11 a statement about the situation:

“We know teachers and all of the people in Phase 1B play a vital role in our community and we do not want to diminish that in any way. However, our vaccine plans are designed to ensure that vaccinations happen in an ethical, equitable and efficient way.”

As many as 200 staff members and teachers in the Greater Latrobe School District were vaccinated last weekend. Officials with the Hempfield Area School District said it has tentatively scheduled a vaccination clinic for next week to immunize some of its staff with health conditions. Some Mount Pleasant Area School District employees were vaccinated Wednesday, but only if they were under Phase 1A, according to the owner of Hayden’s Pharmacy, Ed Christifano.

His pharmacy held the clinic for the district. He said his pharmacy is holding clinics at facilities where they can divide and conquer getting the vaccine out to as many people as possible. That may include some eligible school staff members, but also the general public in Phase 1A.

“I want to ensure everyone in the community, I assure that no one is being taken out of order and we are strictly adhering to our roster list as we are hosting multiple sites for immunizing the groups identified specifically as under 1A in compliance with the State of Pennsylvania,” Christifano said.

He said they are hosting clinics as quickly as shipments become available. But the unknowns and the wait times weigh heavily on people like Stanislaw.

“It’s very frustrating and I think everybody deserves it. I think everybody deserves it in a timely fashion,” she said.

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