As federal and state governments work with drug manufacturers to provide COVID-19 vaccines to residents, availability of the vaccine continues to change.
As of Jan. 26, Pennsylvania is in Phase 1A of its vaccine distribution plan, and providers are reportedly struggling to find enough doses to vaccinate the expanded eligible population.
Here is a look at vaccine availability in Cumberland County and what residents should keep in mind when they are able to get an appointment:
Where and how to get it?
Care Options Rx
Scheduling for Big Spring Pharmacy in Newville, Holly Pharmacy in Mount Holly Springs and Quality Care Pharmacy in Carlisle can be done online through Care Options Rx. Quality Care Pharmacy is also offering vaccine appointments at The Meeting House in Carlisle. Vaccine appointments will reportedly be opened up hourly.
Contact: For more information, the state Department of Health lists contact information as email@example.com and 717-323-8230.
CVS in February started offering COVID-19 vaccines at select pharmacies in a number of states. Pennsylvania, however, is not among them, as of Feb. 10.
Select Giant pharmacies will offer COVID-19 vaccine with an online scheduling system. The Carlisle, Hampden, Upper Allen and Shippensburg locations are on the DOH's map of providers, as of Feb. 9.
Medical Arts Pharmacy in Carlisle
Medical Arts Pharmacy has an online vaccine registration available. The pharmacy asks residents not to call to confirm their submissions to the system.
Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center
Penn State Health on Feb. 18 launched new scheduling systems for four vaccination sites, including one at Holy Spirit Medical Center at 431 N. 21st Street, Camp Hill, at the tent outside of the urgent care building. Due to reporting requirements, appointments must be made online or by phone.
Rite Aid is offering vaccine appointments through an online scheduler and notes that residents should not call their individual locations to schedule appointments. Locations offering vaccines, as of March 2, include those in Silver Spring Township, Carlisle and Shippensburg.
Robert T. Henry Pharmacy on East King Street in Shippensburg
Online sign-up is available, but, as of Feb. 12, the pharmacy is not accepting any additions due to a full wait list. The pharmacy will post more information about when it will start accepting more names.
Contact: For more information, visit its website or call 717-532-5812.
Sadler Health Center in Carlisle
The center is offering vaccines, but says it has a very limited supply.
Sam's Club, along with Walmart, is offering COVID-19 vaccines, and the Silver Spring Township location is among the stores that have vaccines available. Scheduling appointments will require a registered account - either with a Sam's Club membership or as a guest account - before filling out information for scheduling.
Those in Phase 1A are allowed to register online or via phone for a COVID-19 vaccine, and the patient will be contacted once vaccines are available. Due to expected high call volume, patients are urged to only contact UPMC via the phone if they are unable to register online.
Walmart is offering COVID-19 vaccines. As of March 2, the only location in Cumberland County is the Lower Allen Township store at 3400 Hartzdale Drive. A Walmart online account is required to find/schedule an appointment.
The grocery store's pharmacy is offering vaccines at the Silver Spring Township location (labeled as "Harrisburg" location on the website), and appointments can be made online.
Contact: Appointments can also be made by calling 1-800-207-6099 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The line will be active only when appointments are available.
Residents can get the vaccine only by making an appointment, and online appointments can be made a day in advance. Weis is providing the Moderna vaccine, and additional schedules for appointments will open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
What is involved in the process?
- Once an appointment is scheduled, check with the individual provider to see what they need, but most will ask for a photo ID and Medicare or insurance card, if available. Vaccines, however, are free, regardless of insurance coverage. Patients will be asked to wear a face covering while getting the vaccine.
- Those who receive a vaccine will be asked to stay at the location for about 15 minutes to see if any concerning side effects set in that will need to be addressed by pharmacy/medical personnel. The usual side effects include pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, and potentially chills, tiredness and headache, which could start within a day or two of getting the shot and go away after a few days, according to the Department of Health.
- The pharmacy/provider will likely schedule a second appointment after the first dose is administered. The second dose of Moderna will be scheduled 28 days after the first, and the second dose for Pfizer will be administered 21 days after the first dose.
When can you get the vaccine?
- Health care personnel (EMS, nurses, physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, chiropractors, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, technicians, health students/trainees, direct support professionals, clinical personnel at schools/correctional facilities); long-term care residents and staff; adults aged 65 and older; adults who are pregnant, smoke or are obese; and those 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions (cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down syndrome, heart conditions, immunocompromised state, Sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes).
- People in congregate settings not in Phase 1A, first responders, correctional officers and workers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, education workers, clergy and essential support, public transit workers and those caring for children or adults in early childhood or adult day programs.
- Essential workers in sectors of transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, housing construction, finance, information technology, communications, energy, legal services, government, media, public safety and public health workers.
- General public aged 16 and older.
What else do you need to know?
- The Pfizer vaccine is available for those 16 and older, but due to its cold storage requirements, are likely only available through hospitals. Most pharmacies will carry the Moderna vaccine, which is available for those 18 and older. No vaccine has yet been approved for children.
- The Pfizer vaccine is reportedly 95% effective, and the Moderna vaccine is reportedly 94.1% effective. Despite the high levels of efficacy, patients may still contract COVID-19, though risk of a severe infection is greatly reduced. Because those who receive the vaccine could still be asymptomatic carriers of the disease, residents are asked to continue social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as vaccine distribution continues through the general population.
Email Naomi Creason at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason