Philadelphia suburbs still running short on COVID-19 vaccine supply

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Counties in the suburbs of Philadelphia have opened mass vaccination sites, but officials say the lack of vaccine supply from the state is preventing the job from getting done.

At the Aston Community Center, a mass vaccination site is set up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

"We're focusing on our pre-registration list that have 65 and older, but we're letting other people on the 1A list who are between 16 and 64 with underlying medical conditions," said Rosemarie Halt, the Covid vaccine director for Delaware County.

At this facility, officials say they can vaccinate about 1,000 people a day, a total of 6,000 a week.

And although they did get an uptick of 10,000 doses of vaccines last week after numerous complaints to state health officials, they are now getting a little less.

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"We're getting 7,000 Moderna (doses) a week that they have said will be our allocation for the next month," said Halt.

In Bucks County, a similar story is being reported.

"We're getting about 7,000 doses a week it looks like. It's going to stay flat it looks like for the next several weeks," said Dr. David Damsker, the director of the Bucks County Health Department.

In Montgomery County, officials say they are getting about 5,850 doses a week, a bit more than the 4,000 they were previously getting.

"We've been told that's what we'll continue to be getting through the end of April. There's a possibility we could get more than that for the county, but at least we'll get that much," said Janet Panning, the interim health director in Montgomery County.

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Every suburban county now believes they have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of more people if only they could get their hands on more vaccine doses.

"I believe that we have the capacity to vaccinate 12,000 a day, or we will, once we have all those sites set up," said Panning.

And officials urge people to get vaccinated as soon as they are qualified despite what they read on the internet about the vaccines.

"It's a safe and effective vaccine, even if it doesn't work 100% in people. It prevents deaths and hospitalizations, which is what we want," said Damsker

Some county officials say the commonwealth is holding onto their supplies of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccines for mass distribution sites they want to operate in the suburbs. There has been no determination on where those sites will be.
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