WEST CHESTER—The good news: Chester County will receive 5,700 doses of the coronavirus vaccine next week, the first shipment in two weeks. The bad news: Of the nearly 51,000 doses of the vaccine requested, the county so far has received half.

As local lawmakers request an investigation into how Chester County continues to get shortchanged on the vaccine distribution, Chester County commissioners are working on establishing more vaccine distribution sites throughout the county.

Next week, the county wi9ll receive 2,500 first doses and 3.200 second doses. The Chester County Health Department reported it has vaccinated just over 12,000 of the more than 154,000 people eligible for the COVID-19 shots in the Phase 1A category.

Senior citizens, those age 65 and over and who have registered with the county weeks ago for the vaccine, have not received an email yet on when they can expect to be vaccinated. To date, the county has received nearly 183,000 pre-registrations for the Moderna vaccine.

"Next week, we are expanding our call center capabilities – in English and Spanish – to answer questions, pre-register for the vaccine, and schedule appointments when internet booking isn’t an option," said Jeanne Franklin, director at the Chestr County Health Department. "We are also adding to, and improving upon services and programs every day including personalized vaccine appointments that are password-protected, and contracts signed for more vaccine clinic locations across the county that will open as more vaccine doses are delivered to us."

At the current level of vaccine doses received by the Chester County Health Department, officials estimate that 4,380 people in Phase 1A will receive the vaccine each week from the Health Department. As availability increases, so too will the number of people that will be vaccinated each week.

Said State Sen. John Kane, D-9th, of Birmingham: "Demand for the vaccine far exceeds the supply. Chester County has a population of 525,000; of that group, 182,000 have already pre-registered for the vaccine. Yet less than 10,000 individuals have received full vaccinations.  That leaves half a million residents of Chester County, including some of our highest-risk seniors, without any protection against this deadly virus.”

Vaccine clinics are being staged in three locations in Chester County – The Government Services Center in West Chester, the Kennett Square Fire Company’s Red Clay Room, and West Chester University’s Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center. The Chester County Health Department does not distribute vaccine to these locations and does not have control over how the vaccine is distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

As appointments with the Chester County Health Department open up for the COVID-19 vaccine, residents who want the vaccine will be notified of the opportunity to book an appointment, with a personalized link for booking. An appointment for the second vaccine will be scheduled at the time the first vaccine is received.

In addition to the Chester County Health Department, some hospitals and pharmacies in Chester County are receiving vaccine from the PA Department of Health.

"The Chester County Commissioners are working in support of the Chester County Health Department, and on behalf of all county residents, to appeal to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on the need for more vaccine in more highly populated areas of the state, and to ask that priority be given to the Chester County Health Department as a vaccine provider," Franklin said. "We have shared this with our state legislators, so that they can also lobby for our appeal for more vaccine."

This week in Pennsylvania, 318,450 doses will have been allocated through February 13, 175,175 first doses and 143,275 second doses.

Chester County and Delaware County continue to vaccinate groups in Phase 1A to include the individuals 65 and older, and individuals between the ages of 16-64 with certain medical conditions. Vaccine supply remains limited and appointments are opened as more vaccine becomes available. To register, https://chesco.seamlessdocs.com/f/chescovac.

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