LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Many have taken the coronavirus vaccine as a sign of hope but there’s still a growing number of questions and concerns.
By the end of the week, more than 1.5 million vaccines will have been been administered here in the Keystone State. The problem? There’s more than four million in the 1-A category of the rollout plan alone.
The supply chain from the federal to local levels is under scrutiny.
“In the beginning it wasn’t very consistent. But now the communication with the state and the pharmacies seems to be much better,” said Bruce Lefkowitz, pharmacist and owner of Harrold’s Pharmacy.
Millions are eagerly waiting their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Early issues with the rollout mean production, distribution and most importantly supply are going to need to be addressed.
That’s something that Pennsylvania state officials say they are going to be relying heavily on from the federal government.
“They’ve already talked about increasing the supply, and that they’re going to give us better guidance in the future,” said PA Governor Tom Wolf.
“The most important thing for Pennsylvania to remember is that vaccine providers are working as quickly as possible to vaccinate,” said Alison Beam, acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.
That’s where local pharmacies like Harrold’s in south Wilkes-Barre come in.
“The demand has been overwhelming. It’s really unbelievable,” said Lefkowitz.
The day people found out Harrold’s had the vaccine? Owner Bruce Lefkowitz and company had to try and field more than 500 phone calls.
“We couldn’t really keep up with the demand of phone calls because we’ve got a lot of other clients and patients to take care of, so it was really challenging.”
More and more people are looking for answers. The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website has the answers to many common questions as well as vaccination data available. It even goes as far as maps that will show you where the vaccine will be rolled out.
While there is still some frustration with the waiting lists and supply chain, Lefkowitz says it’s not all bad news.
“For me, as a pharmacist and a healthcare professional, it’s just very encouraging to see people that believe in the science behind the vaccine. My favorite part of the job, now, is to make the phone call to people and say ‘hey, we have the vaccine.'”