PA Department of Health explains misallocations of COVID-19 vaccines

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam and Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response Lindsey Mauldin announced a mistake in allocations of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“As the Department of Health looks to improve the complex processes necessary to get the COVID vaccine from the manufacturers into the arms of Pennsylvanians as quickly as possible, we discovered some providers inadvertently used the Moderna vaccine shipped to them, intended as second doses, as first doses,” said Beam.

She went on to describe why the Department of Health thinks it happened.

“It seems that the perfect storm of circumstances and eagerness to get vaccines to residents, incredible pent up desire by the public to get this vaccine, dedicated vaccine providers trying to deliver what their customers are demanding, inconsistent vaccine allocations , confusion about operation warp speed vaccine deliveries, and the need for more frequent and clear communication from the department all converged to bring us to the point which we are in today.”

“In the short term, we are faced with second dose Moderna vaccine requests far exceeding the Moderna vaccine allocated to the state this week.”

Beam also reassured that the Pfizer vaccine is not affected and that second Moderna vaccines are available.

Remedies include using excess inventory and adjusting timing for the second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

“All providers will be following CDC guidelines that set the minimum time between doses at 28 days and the maximum time at 42 days. By extending the time between doses, while remaining within CDC guidelines, we can minimize any disruption to first dose vaccinations.”

“Providers will be finding out their allocations throughout the day today, through clear communications, and we are also holding frequent provider communications for them to be able to engage with us directly with any questions they may have.”

“This is the week where we’ve addressed it, because it has become so significant that, again, the amount of requested second doses of Moderna was almost equal to our entire allocation of Moderna. And so it was a week over week structural problem. We are working to address it this week. Over the next 2 to 3 weeks, we will have corrected for it.”

“So… The amount of doses requested was roughly 200,000 doses of Moderna. That, as you know from our numbers and our updates that Lindsay provides as well, that’s roughly our entire Moderna allocation for the week.”

“This situation is a stark reminder that right now, there is not enough vaccine for everyone who is eligible to get it. We know that there will be more vaccine in the future and we’re working with get as much vaccine as we can into the arms of Pennsylvanians and we will find ways to enhance that process.”

Mauldin followed the acting secretary saying nearly one and a half million Pennsylvanians have received their first dose and nearly half a million are now fully vaccinated.

Mauldin said there will be enough vaccines in the future, but right now there simply is not enough vaccine available to meet the incredible demand and that Pennsylvania is not unique in this regard.

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