HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the newly formed joint task force with the legislature today announced their commitment to ensuring that Pennsylvanians will have access to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine within the CDC-recommended timeframe of up to 42 days after the first dose.
Acknowledging communications shortcomings and the need for more frequent outreach to providers, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam outlined plans moving forward.
“As the Department of Health continues to review and improve the complex processes necessary to get COVID-19 vaccine from the manufacturers into the arms of Pennsylvanians as quickly as possible, we discovered some providers inadvertently administered the Moderna vaccine shipped to them intended as second doses, as first doses,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “We are taking immediate action to remedy the situation and are committed to ensuring that second doses are available.
“After careful review and discussion with legislators on Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force we have a clear path forward that may include adjusting the timing of second dose administration following CDC guidelines that set the minimum time between doses at 21 and 28 days and the maximum time at 42 days.”
“This second dose issue was the first major problem addressed by this task force and we have demonstrated that we are able to respond in real time and in a bipartisan manner,” said Sen. Ryan Aument, Senate Republican Caucus Task Force member. “However, we recognize that much work remains to implement a highly efficient and effective statewide plan to ensure that all Pennsylvanians who want to receive the vaccine, can. It is my hope that the task force will continue to work in a collaborative way to streamline and strengthen Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout.”
The department is very closely monitoring the inventory of vaccine in Pennsylvania. To maximize the amount of vaccine getting to people, the department will begin pulling excess inventory from throughout the vaccine provider system to get it to providers that can get 80 percent of it into arms within seven days.