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Vaccinate NEPA: From not enough to excess — providers see vaccine surpluses

Vaccinate NEPA

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For so many weeks, the COVID vaccine rollout was met with frustration by those eligible to get the shot but were unable to find it. But lately, we are seeing more and more vaccine clinics coming to Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

People eager to get vaccinated against COVID-19 stood in line at the Pavilion at Montage. When Medicap Pharmacy of Olyphant first planned this community clinic, it intended it to be appointment only.

Hiller asks, “Did you make an appointment for this or are you a walk-in?”

Tina MacLeod, a Clarks Summit resident, says, “I’m a walk-in.”

She is far from the only one.

“No, I just heard about it and they said where it was at, come on down and get it done so I figured there was going to be a huge line but it’s not bad at all,” said Robert Harris, also of Clarks Summit.

The clinic was set up to administer 1,600 doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. When less than 100 people had pre-registered on the eve of this clinic, officials decided to change the rules.

“So at that point we needed to open it up and say okay, it’s time. It’s time to have a walk-in clinic and get them started,” said Eric Pusey, a pharmacist at Medicap Pharmacy in Olyphant.

We know everyone 16 and older is now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. You might think there would be such a rush for the shots that vaccine would be in short supply. Not the case according to Pusey.

“As of the last two weeks, our supply has greatly increased and I believe that the supply has exceeded the demand at this point,” said Pusey.

The latest data shows less than 44% of Pennsylvanians have received at least their first shot of COVID vaccine. That’s less than the national figure of more than 50%. Pusey believes the best way to boost the numbers is to encourage more young people, from 16-year-olds to 20 somethings, to get vaccinated. Connor MacLeod is in that category and came as a walk-in to get his shot.

“I was talking to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and I understand the concern. It is very new but you know, I trust it,” said Connor MacLeod, a Clarks Summit resident.

So does this Scranton Prep junior who took a left arm jab to join the crowd of the latest vaccinated.

“I do feel safer and I’m glad that things are getting back to normal and that every day we get closer to getting back to normal,” said Lydia Pickutoski, a Blakely resident.

The mass vaccination clinic started at 1 p.m. What makes this one different is that you didn’t even need to make an appointment, although it didn’t start out that way. Organizers say there’s a good reason for that: the law of supply and demand with a twist.

Everyone who received a vaccine will need to come back in either three or four weeks, depending on which vaccine they received.

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