Tioga County teams up with local providers to distribute COVID-19 vaccine


An ampoule Moderna vaccine against the COVID-19 disease, stand on the table at the Diakonie Hospital “DIAKO” vaccination ward in Bremen, Germany, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Besides the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Moderna is the second corona vaccine approved in the European Union. (Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/dpa via AP)

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TIOGA COUNTY, Pa. (WETM) – The Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force has teamed up with the Laurel Health Centers, Guthrie, and UPMC to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is available to Tioga County residents as soon as possible.

“The Task Force has collaborated with our local health systems throughout our pandemic response, and we are partnering closer than ever to create one cohesive unit for vaccine administration, as this allows us to reach the most people in the shortest amount of time,” said James A. Nobles, President and CEO of Laurel Health and the Chair of the Task Force. “I could not be prouder of the degree of cooperation the Task Force is receiving from Laurel Health, Guthrie, and UPMC to ensure that our residents can get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available to our communities.”

The PA-Department of Health has developed a multi-phased plan with vaccine deployment divided into Phase 1A, 1B, 1C, and Phase 2. For more information on the state’s vaccination plan, each specific phase, and access to a survey to determine if you are eligible to receive the vaccine under the (revised) Phase 1(A) guidelines, please visit the PA Department of Health Website at health.pa.gov.

“There are a lot of people who are interested in getting vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Janie Hilfiger, president, UPMC Cole and UPMC Wellsboro. “We’re encouraged by their eagerness and we’re ready to help support the efforts in the county to ensure our community members who want a shot, can get one. It’s going to be quite an undertaking, and UPMC is grateful to have community health partners like Laurel Health, Tioga Task Force, and Guthrie stepping up to do what’s right for our communities.”

“We look forward to working with our local partners to deliver vaccine to as many residents of Tioga County as we can, as quickly as we can, once given the go ahead from the PA Department of Health” said David Pfisterer, the Chair of Primary Care for the Guthrie Clinic. “As we transition out of Phase 1A, patients should look for communication from their healthcare provider about when they are eligible for vaccination.”

Nobles continued, “The Task Force understands that our community is excited about the vaccine and eager to know when and where they can get vaccinated. Vaccine distribution is currently limited by the state supply chain. As soon as additional doses are received by Laurel Health, Guthrie, or UPMC, vaccine clinics will be scheduled. We are not holding back any doses, and I’m optimistic that we will be receiving additional shipments in the coming weeks”. Nobles is asking for patience from all Tioga County residents while we navigate through the vaccine distribution channels and also to understand that at the present time, vaccine doses are very limited. The Task Force is communicating, on a daily basis, with local and state officials to accelerate vaccine distribution throughout the county.

To ensure all the healthcare providers in Phase 1(A) are vaccinated, UPMC has established a process for non-UPMC healthcare providers to request and schedule a vaccination. Non-UPMC healthcare organizations looking for more information about receiving the vaccine should visit UPMC.com/HealthCareVaccine or call 833-299-4358.

“The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same vigorous clinical trials as all other approved vaccines and were tested on thousands of volunteers to ensure they are safe and effective. The COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool in our toolkit to fight COVID-19 along with masking, handwashing, and social distancing,” explained Nobles. “As we progress through the state’s vaccine plan, every resident of Tioga County can prepare by evaluating where they fall in the rollout phases on the PA Dept. of Health website. Once the re-supply process is streamlined, vaccine deployment will start to move faster.” Presently all 3 health systems are working with the Task Force to categorize the highest risk patients in Phase 1(A) of the (revised) state plan and identify a time to vaccinate those people as soon as additional vaccine doses are received. “By vaccinating the most vulnerable of our population first, we can address those patients at the highest risk to get very sick from COVID-19 and ultimately, we can save lives”, said Nobles.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccine administration in Tioga County, follow the Task Force Facebook page. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and how it works, visit cdc.gov or health.pa.gov.

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