Lancaster County got a shout-out during Gov. Tom Wolf's online media briefing Wednesday morning.
Wolf cited Lancaster's planned community vaccination center as an example of the "mass vaccination" prong of the state's three-pronged Covid-19 vaccination strategy. The other two elements are the state's network of private-sector pharmacies; and a strategy of targeted "affirmative steps," such as mobile clinics, to reach vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health is the lead health care partner in Lancaster County's effort to set up a high-capacity vaccination site at the former Bon-Ton store in Park City Center. It is scheduled to open on a pilot basis next week, after which it is hoped it can ramp up quickly to 6,000 shots a day.
LG Health is one of four participating health systems, along with UPMC Pinnacle, Penn State Hershey and WellSpan.
State Sen. Ryan Aument, a Lancaster County Republican, is on the state's Covid-19 vaccine task force. He said the task force has revised the criteria the state uses to allocate Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses to counties. The new version takes into account the following criteria:
- County population
- County population over 65
- Covid-19 infection rate
- Covid-19 death rate
- Demonstrated capacity to administer at least 80% of first doses within 7 days
"Lancaster County will certainly benefit under the new allocation model," Aument said, in part because the community vaccination center "has the potential to really drive throughput."
Asked how the new allocation model differs from its predecessor, a Health Department spokesperson said comparisons are "not available," because the limited availability of supply from the federal government has been the overriding issue to date.
As of the beginning of the week, Lancaster County was below Pennsylvania's average vaccination rate. According to LNP newspaper, 11.7% of county residents are partly or fully vaccinated, versus 13.7% the state as a whole. That put Lancaster County in 47th place among the 66 counties receiving allocations from the Department of Health. (Philadelphia gets its doses directly from the federal government and is tracked separately.)
As of Wednesday, the percentage had climbed slightly to 12.1%, with 36,143 Lancaster County residents partly and 29,830 fully vaccinated.