COVID-19 vaccine distribution underway in York County

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun in York County for health care workers and emergency first responders with funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, county officials said Wednesday.

These vaccinations are part of the first phase of the state's three-phase approach to getting the vaccine out to the public, Commissioner Julie Wheeler said, adding that phase one also includes the elderly and others who are at increased risk.

"As we speak, plans are being developed to offer the vaccination to essential workers, people over 65 and then residents living in other congregate settings," she said.

Colleen Teevan, System Pharmacy Clinical Manager at Hartford HealthCare, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 to healthcare worker Connor Paleski outside of Hartford Hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Phase two will cover vulnerable populations and those with high-risk health conditions, and phase three will expand to the general population, Wheeler said.

The York County Board of Commissioners allocated about $372,700 of CARES Act funding to the York County Emergency Management Agency to buy mass vaccination supplies and coordinate with area hospitals for distribution.

As of Wednesday, there had been 25,040 cases of COVID-19 in York County since the outbreak began, as well as 457 deaths attributed to the virus, the state Department of Health reported.

Ninety-six of those deaths occurred over the past 14 days, the state reported.

York County is in the process of developing a data dashboard that will help track not only infection and hospitalization rates but also the secondary effects of the pandemic such as unemployment and economic distress.

The pandemic has been the impetus for the county board to take a serious look at potentially creating a countywide health department.

The commissioners are waiting for the results of a feasibility study they commissioned in August that will tell them more about whether it would be in the county's interest to create a new department, what it would cost and other related factors.

York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler
Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

The county expects to have the results of the feasibility study within the next month or so, officials have said.

Wheeler assured the public Wednesday the commissioners will not move forward until they have all of the information.

"We just want to be clear that no decisions regarding a countywide health department have been made at this juncture," she said. "We are waiting for the report."

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