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Demand for vaccines up

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

In the last two weeks, UPMC has seen an increase in demand for vaccines since the early summer, when they had to decrease staff and even move to a smaller clinic venue at 609 Brandon Ave., according to Heather Stafford, UPMC Williamsport clinical director of nursing education and infection prevention.

She added that they are looking at expanding hours and available days at the vaccination clinic to accommodate the demand for vaccination.

“We are excited and glad that people are looking to get the vaccines,” Stafford said. “They are highly effective and scientifically proven to help stop hospitalizations and deaths. They are the most important key to stopping the spread of this virus.”

Stafford predicts that the Delta variant and schools and universities going back into session with students having to be in more confined spaces may contribute to the recent increase.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lycoming County remains in the “substantial” level of COVID-19 transmission, with approximately 50 to 100 new cases per 100,000 individuals in the past seven days. Clinton County is in the “high” transmission level with having greater than or equal to 100 new cases per 100,000 individuals in the past seven days. All levels are from an Aug. 12 report from the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition using data from the CDC.

The CDC provides vaccination rates on their website. According to its numbers, approximately 54,459 people have at least one dose of the vaccine while 48,266 are fully vaccinated.

“It is becoming more apparent that more people are seeing the value of being vaccinated,” Stafford said.

UPMC Williamsport is also working to reduce the amount of vaccine wastage by giving vaccines to those in in-patient services as well as coordinating doses for community events and partnerships as well as home-bound and home-health vaccinations.

“It is a group health care effort to limit wastage,” Stafford said.

“We really encourage people to sign up, vaccines are one of the best tools” to stop the spread, she added.

One message that UPMC wants to relay is that it is “never too late” to get the vaccine and that there is ample supply of both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

To sign up for a vaccine visit the website, vaccine.upmc.com or you can call 844-876-2822.

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