Delaware County, Pennsylvania plans for COVID-19 vaccine arrival

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The first shipments of the coronavirus vaccines could go out within the next several weeks.

When the time comes for their arrival to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, officials from the county and state have been working together to formulate a distribution plan.

Timothy Boyce serves as the Director of Delaware County's Department of Emergency Services.

"As we get more information, we adapt our plan, but we do have a robust plan to deliver medicines during a crisis like this," Boyce explained. "There are two phases. One will be direct shipment to hospitals and nursing homes where they will administer it to their patients and staff, and the second wave, hopefully right behind, will be organized by the county."

The county is looking at three larger sites for vaccine distribution, and the effort will include medical and non-medical volunteers from Delaware County Citizens Corps, led by Ed Kline.

"So while we have about 1,500 that include almost 500 medical volunteers. I know we are going to need about 1,000 more people," Kline predicted.

The Citizens Corps has been around for 10 years, and their numbers have swelled since March.

Volunteers have pitched in at COVID testing sites, flu clinics, and food drives, putting in more than 24,000 hours since March 3.

"The volunteers have saved the taxpayers over a million dollars, just based on basic math," Kline emphasized.

"When you have a disaster like this, that affects every community at the same time, those communities have to have the resources within them to fix the problem. There is no big team coming from somewhere else to come help you."

With the anticipated arrival of vaccines, the Corps will need more volunteers for non-medical roles, including record keeping and data entry, and for administering the vaccine.

Even a few hours here and there helps.

"It's exciting to hear that paramedics, possibly nursing students, pharmacy techs...are going to be able to be immunizers. We need to increase the number of people that can actually do that clinical operation," Kline said.

So far, there is no word on how many doses of the vaccine will be distributed to the county.

Boyce pointed out, "One of our limiting factors is, we just don't know how many vaccines we will be getting, and that will really impact how quickly we can get this out."

To learn more about becoming a volunteer, visit https://www.delcocitizencorps.com/
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