A New Distribution Plan Is the Answer to Vaccinating Chester County

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It is time to vaccinate as many people as possible. The COVID vaccines are the hope that we will soon start living life without so many restrictions. Even with a vast quantity of COVID vaccines, the Chester Country area has been receiving limited shipments at inconsistent times, halting individuals’ second dose and completely preventing eligible individuals from getting their first dose of the vaccine. However, the current vaccine distribution plan is not successful and needs to be replaced immediately so Chester County residents can get vaccinated.

The distribution of COVID vaccines in Pennsylvania, specifically Chester County, has not been carried out as well as in other areas. Many residents are concerned because they have a strong desire to get vaccinated but cannot find a location with vaccines available to give. A common belief that residents have expressed is that they feel as though they are being denied vaccines because vaccines are being held for others. Some even think it is because the health care worker does not like them. Denying someone a vaccine is not personal at all; it is purely because there are no vaccines available to give. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, as of March 25, 2021, the county with the most vaccinated residents is Cameron County, with 15.2% of its resistances having received their first dose. The county with the least vaccinated residents is Bucks County, with only 8.47% of its residents have received their first dose. Chester County fails in the middle, with 11.4% of its residents have received their first dose.

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Vaccines are not being distributed routinely to health departments, hospitals, or retail pharmacies. Before vaccines began to be shipped out, the CDC guidelines stated that vaccine shipments would be received at least twice a week; however, this has not been executed. Some vaccine provider locations do not receive a shipment of vaccines for weeks at a time and are unsure when one will be received. The independent pharmacy in Chester County that I work at will receive a shipment one week and then does not receive another shipment for at least three weeks. Hospitals and health departments have been receiving the greatest quantities of vaccines per shipment and tend to have priority when it is decided who receives a shipment. While small and independent pharmacies are receiving very small amounts of vaccines if they even receive a shipment. The week of March 22, 2021, the Chester County health department received 2000 doses, while the pharmacy I work at did not receive any. Local vaccine providers not receiving shipments denies residents access to vaccines.

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The lack of vaccines has left individuals unsure of when and where they will receive their vaccine, either first or second dose. The CDC has stated that the second dose has to be received at a maximum of six weeks after the first dose; for many, that six-week date is approaching, and there are no vaccines available for them to receive. Due to the lack of vaccines being delivered to the pharmacy I work at; we have only been able to give a limited number of 1A individuals their first dose of the vaccine. We are currently working on getting them their second dose. However, because of the limited vaccine supplies we have received, we have been unable to begin giving others their first dose. A few residents have expressed their concerns about getting vaccinated because of the insecurity of vaccines’ availability. Some have stories about how they had to frantically try and find a location to give them their second dose because the original location did not receive vaccines.

Even though vaccinations are not occurring at a rapid rate, individuals are still being vaccinated. Some may even believe that the current distribution plan is successful due to the daily increase in the number of vaccinated people. However, so many more people could already be vaccinated if more vaccines were available. Pennsylvania is still only in phase 1A of vaccinations, while states like Alaska and Mississippi have made the COVID vaccine available for all residents to receive.

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In order to fulfill President Joe Biden’s plan of having all American citizens vaccinated by the end of May, Pennsylvania needs to reevaluate its vaccine distribution plan immediately and make changes that will result in a more controlled and calculated distribution. There are supplies of vaccines available; the current distribution plan is causing the vaccine unavailability for residents.  If a change is not made, Pennsylvania will continue in this cycle of having a surplus of vaccines then a deficit of vaccines for unknown periods of time.

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