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DOH senior adviser: There is ‘simply not enough supply’ even with allocation increase

HARRISBURG — Even with the 40,000 increase in vaccine allocations for first doses in the Commonwealth, state Department of Health Senior Adviser Lindsey Mauldin, still expresses that there is “simply not enough vaccine” to meet the ongoing demands of phase 1A distribution.

“We are doing all that we can to get people vaccinated,” she said.

With over 1.5 million first doses given so far, and about 650,000 Pennsylvanians fully vaccinated, Mauldin added that the focus still remains on getting through the most vulnerable including those 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions that lead them to higher risk of infection.

Though there is no timeline as to when the state will begin vaccinating phase 1B, Mauldin still says that the state is “shooting for everyone to be vaccinated by summer” but wants to remain realistic in that there is no way to predict when the state will be able to move through the distribution phases.

“We are not putting estimates out at this time,” she said.

All second doses, which were previously delayed by snow and allocation issues, have been secured within the state’s allocation plan this week as well.

She was also unable to answer questions about the upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccine as it has not received its Emergency Use Authentication from the FDA yet.

However, she did say that there are no plans in place of how the new vaccine would be allocated and that the state will partner with the Legislative Task Force to determine distribution plans, hopefully next week.

Mauldin also described that mass vaccination clinics are also of consideration in counties that have the most vulnerable, though “vaccine is extremely limited”.

She added that the state’s metrics on how and where to allocate depends on “equity” and “efficiency”.

The state looks at all of the 66 counties they serve and analyze the population, cases and deaths as well as how many in the vulnerable population are in each area.

“We will continue to work with our providers,” she said.

The state did however, update the COVID Alert PA mobile application to be able to set a reminder for vaccine second doses, find testing locations, most up to date case counts, and more.

The Your Turn tool was also added to the application, and was developed in several different languages including Spanish, German and Chinese.

Both online tools also have educational materials about COVID including state regulations and mitigation measures to help combat the spread of the virus.

“We must keep up efforts by masking up, washing up and maintaining social distancing,” Mauldin said.

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