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Vaccinate NEPA: State Senator commends long-term care vaccine milestone, says there is still a long way to go

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Pennsylvania nursing homes have reached an important milestone in efforts to vaccinate those that live and work in nursing homes, Governor Tom Wolf announced Tuesday.

More than 600 skilled nursing facilities have given staff and residents both vaccine doses. Now, 100 percent of seniors living in Pennsylvania care homes who wanted a vaccine have received at least one dose.

“This is an important milestones for Pennsylvania and it works key progress ensuring that our most vulnerable residents get the vaccines soon quickly,” Wolf said.

Meanwhile, Senator John Yudichak (I), District 14, says the federal pharmacy partnership has been successful, more needs to be done.

“I have been critical of the department of health at the federal pharmacy partnership however has has worked very well,” Yudichak said.

CVS and Walgreens helped the state by vaccinating people at long-term care and skilled nursing facilities as well as personal care homes and those in assisted living. The long-term care vaccination mission has included the distribution of more than 315,000 vaccines.

“Phase 1A is 4 1/2 million people, that means 9 million doses of the vaccine are required we’ve only administered 3 million doses here in Pennsylvania and we are all well behind many other states the ranking 42nd out of 50 states we need to do better,” Yudichak said.

Pennsylvania has one of the largest populations of older adults in the nation. Yudichak’s main concern now is that those over 65 are not able to navigate the website or secure a vaccine location.

“We got to make sure that we have a plan to get to those senior high-rises to get to healthcare facilities that aren’t on the list of phase 1 at this moment we need to get to those residents to make sure that they’re protected with this life-saving vaccine,” he said.

There have been talks of mass vaccination sites but lawmakers say they are not ready to go because the state does not have the doses to distribute.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate have passed a bill which would have the state’s National Guard join the vaccine effort. That has been sent to the governor’s desk.

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