Vaccine supplies thin out as demand increases in Lackawanna County


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — With Phase 1-A of the state’s vaccine rollout, the number of people who are eligible exceeds the amount of vaccines available. The supply and demand is causing frustration at the local level.

It was a long shot, but on Saturday Maureen Chell received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine. This comes after the state department moved those 16-65 with underlying conditions to Phase 1-A — along with those 65 and older — last week, making Chell eligible.

“Well my first reaction was glory hallelujah we’re making progress,” said Chell.

Progress that came with bumps along the way. Chell had issues on the state department of health’s website looking for one of nine locations in the county to receive the vaccine, the website giving residents a false green light.

Chell was denied at the Wright Center for Community Health and ended up receiving her vaccine at Geisinger which is not listed on the state department’s website.

“It was really quite the experience to try and find somewhere to get it. It wasn’t easy,” said Chell.

“I’ve been receiving calls from these points of distribution. The Wright Center and some of the pharmaceutical individuals doing it around town here and their allotment is shrinking dramatically specifically this week,” said Lackawanna County Chief of Staff Brian Jeffers.

Lackawanna County has more than 45,000 people who are 65 years old and up. Jeffers says federal, state and local government need to work together to get the most vulnerable vaccinated efficiently when small or large vaccination locations are either booked, over or under stocked with the vaccine.

“If the smaller ones are filled up and the bigger ones still have space we need put in a uniform under one umbrella to get some people to get these vaccinations.”

Jeffers says 4,000-5,000 doses come into the county per week and he believes half of them are set aside for second doses.

Chell’s nurse gave her an appointment to come back.

“She gave me the impression since that we have gotten the first one we would be in line to get the second one.”

Brian Jeffers says the county is not facing a PPE shortage or the lack of syringes to administer the vaccines — yet.

County officals are monitoring supplies, and hope President Biden’s Defense Production Act will help slow down any shortage that may come later down the road.

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