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Doctors: ‘We simply do not have adequate vaccine supplies’

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. David Lopatofsky, chief medical officer, UPMC in the Susquehanna Region, agrees with and supports the following statement shared by his colleagues on the Southwestern PA Regional Chief Medical Officer Consortium.

“While UPMC is encouraged by the public’s eagerness for the vaccine, we simply do not have adequate vaccine supplies or clear notification of when and how much is coming to be able to meet the new, much larger group as discussed (Tuesday) by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“Our health care sites and systems will need to continue to prioritize those seeking vaccination, identifying the most vulnerable in their area to serve first and to optimize impact during this time of short supply. That means many requests for vaccination will not be met in the next days to weeks, and this is not from a lack of desire.”)

On behalf of our hospitals and health care systems, we appreciate the added COVID 19 vaccination guidance released today by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Many more in our communities — those 65 years old and above, and those with elevated body mass index or certain key conditions — were now added to the highest priority group.

We agree the groups identified are key for limiting COVID 19 spread and harm. However, we simply do not have adequate vaccine supplies or clear notification of when and how much is coming to be able to meet this new, much larger group who can benefit.

Our health care sites and systems will need to continue to prioritize those seeking vaccination, identifying the most vulnerable in their area to serve first and to optimize impact during this time of short supply. That means many requests for vaccination will not be met in the next days to weeks, and this is not from a lack of desire.

We want to and we will help but also ensure the public understands the realities. This is the best way to avoid confusion, disappointment, or lack of trust. Having as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible serves all of us well.

We also remind all — no matter what your health status is or if you have been vaccinated yet — please continue ongoing personal vigilance with masking, distancing, hygiene, and no congregation outside of your household to curtail transmission.

The Southwestern PA Regional CMO Consortium

Dr. Donald M. Whiting

Chief medical officer

Allegheny Health Network

Dr. Donald M. Yealy

Senior medical director

UPMC

Dr. Carol J. Fox

Chief medical officer

Excela Health System

Dr. David Rottinghaus

Chief medical officer

Butler Health System

Dr. Michael Cratty

Chief medical officer

Heritage Valley Health System

Dr. John Sullivan

Chief medical officer

St. Clair Hospital

Dr. John Six

Chief medical officer

Washington Health System

Dr. Ali F. Sonel

Chief medical officer

Pittsburgh VA Health System

Dr. Elizabeth Dunmore

Chief medical officer

Conemaugh Health System

Dr. Russell Cameron

Chief medical officer

Penn Highlands Healthcare

Dr. Richard K. Neff

Chief medical officer

Indiana Regional Medical Center

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