WellSpan officials: Vaccines arriving in York County this week
COVID-19 vaccines could arrive in York County as soon as Friday, a milestone coming as a record-breaking number of deaths linked to the disease were reported.
Seven of WellSpan Health's hospitals in Pennsylvania will be among the first 100 statewide to receive vaccine shipments, said spokesperson Ryan Coyle. The health care provider on Tuesday received its first shipment of vaccines at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon County.
Also Tuesday, the state reported 10 deaths linked to COVID-19 in York County, breaking the previous record set on Dec. 1 when there were eight.
"Vaccinations will first be offered to our team members who have the highest risk of exposure, and as additional doses become available, we will offer it to all WellSpan employees and patients," Coyle said in a statement.
Officials at WellSpan York Hospital anticipate beginning administering vaccinations to staff Friday, said Coyle, who declined to say how many doses the hospitals are slated to receive in the first round.
However, Coyle said, it is possible deliveries could be delayed because of snow storms, which could dump more than a foot of snow on the region.
Statewide, more than 110,000 doses are expected to reach Pennsylvania in the coming days, the state Health Department announced on Monday.
Hospitals statewide will receive 97,500 doses directly from Pfizer. Philadelphia alone is expected to receive 13,650 doses, The Associated Press reported.
UPMC Pinnacle in West Manchester Township also is slated to receive vaccines, but there was no set timeline as of Tuesday, said spokesperson Kelly McCall.
The vaccine comes amid a rush to fight the pandemic as the U.S. struggles to fend off a nationwide surge in cases, which has prompted concerns that hospitals could become overwhelmed.
The vaccine was developed by Pfizer, a multinational pharmaceutical company, and BioNTech, a German biotechnology company. Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is 95% effective.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized the vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. for individuals who are at least 16 years old.
Following its authorization, Pfizer shipped nearly 3 million doses to 636 sites across the country. The vaccine requires two doses.
On Tuesday, the FDA also confirmed the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, The New York Times reported.
The agency is expected to authorize the use of the vaccine — which is reported to be 94.1% effective — on Friday.
As of noon Tuesday, there had been 17,811 COVID-19 cases and 306 deaths linked to the disease in York County. Statewide, there were 509,320 cases and 12,890 deaths.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.