Sharon Regional working hard to distribute vaccine as eligibility increases

Coronavirus

The vaccine is only available to Pennsylvania residents who sign up

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – More Pennsylvanians are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but the supply is still way behind the demand.

Sharon Regional Medical Center has been designated as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. It understands the importance of providing the shot in Mercer County.

“For every 10 vaccines you give, at least one person’s life is saved. That’s about how it works out,” said Dr. Dave Shellenbarger, Sharon Regional’s chief medical officer.

The hospital has given 1,300 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 400 people have received their second dose already.

Pennsylvania expanded eligibility to now include anyone age 65 and over, plus those younger with serious health conditions.

“Now there’s a lot more demand and we have to figure out a way to help in whatever way we can to get [the] vaccine as quick as possible,” Dr. Shellenbarger said.

The first step is waiting for the state to send more vaccine doses. Sharon Regional expects another shipment next week but doesn’t know when it’s going to come or even how much it will get.

The vaccine is only available to Pennsylvania residents who sign up. You can’t just show up and expect to get a shot.

“It’s obviously a logistic problem. It takes a lot of work to get people in and out safely. We have to be able to space people out and give the appropriate observation to make sure they’re safe,” Dr. Shellenbarger said.

That limits the number of appointments per day, and so does the scarcity of the vaccine. But it’s still a changer across the nation, and in Mercer County.

“I want everyone to know that we’re trying as hard as we can to get people and shots in arms, whenever we can,” Dr. Shellenbarger said.

Sharon Regional says it has not wasted a single dose. It has been able to get each and every one into an arm.

The hospital has a new phone number to register and get an appointment. You can leave a message and the call will be returned. That new number is 724-983-7251.

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