A patient receives a Covid-19 vaccine injection at the NCS/South Asian Association of Lancaster's clinic at the Wyndham Resort & Convention Center in February 2021. (Source: Provided)
A patient receives a Covid-19 vaccine injection at the NCS/South Asian Association of Lancaster's clinic at the Wyndham Resort & Convention Center in February 2021. (Source: Provided)

This spring, thousands of Lancaster County residents were vaccinated against Covid-19 at weekend clinics hosted by the nonprofit South Asian Association of Lancaster in partnership with NCS Pharmacy at the Wyndham Resort & Convention Center.

Now, with Pfizer booster shots authorized for higher risk groups and vaccination for ages 5-11 on the horizon, SAAL and NCS, now known as Lititz Apothecary, are gearing up again.

SAAL and Lititz Apothecary are offering a booster clinic from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Oct. 30, at Expo Center Wyndham Resort complex, 2300 Lincoln Highway East.

It's to be followed by a second half-day clinic on Saturday, Nov. 6. Assuming childhood vaccinations win federal approval by then, the Nov. 6 clinic will offer both pediatric vaccination and adult boosters. Its registration is expected to open around Tuesday next week.

Subsequent clinics will be scheduled based on demand, said Chet Patel, owner of Lititz Apothecary and vice president of SAAL.

For more information

To learn more and sign up for the Oct. 30 Covid-19 vaccine booster clinic at Wyndam Resort, click here. Patients should bring their vaccine cards to their appointments.

Booster eligibility

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, booster shots are indicated for people who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago, according to the following criteria:

  • Age 65 years and older: Should get boosters
  • Age 18-64 in long-term care settings: Should get boosters
  • Age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions: Should get boosters
  • Age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions: May get boosters
  • Age 18-64 who work or live in high-risk settings: May get boosters

(Source: Provided)

The initiative appears to be the Lancaster County's only large-scale public vaccination clinic at present, though other providers say they haven't ruled out holding clinics in future.

Over the weekend, Lititz Apothecary sent out emails announcing the Oct. 6 clinic to individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine at the Wyndham earlier this year. As of Tuesday, about 400 people had registered.

The booster clinics set up so those individuals who were served previously wouldn't feel they were being "handed off" and made to fend for themselves, Patel said.

Moreover, he said, offering the clinics eases the burden on other health care providers, who are handling Covid-19 vaccination appointments amid all the other demands on their time and resources. (Like them, LItitz Apothecary also is offering in-office booster appointments.)

Lititz Apothecary is following federal guidelines for booster eligibility, which say in part that individuals aged 18 to 64 may receive boosters if they are at high risk due to a medical condition, job, or living circumstances.

Individuals themselves can determine if they meet those risk criteria, Patel said: At the clinic, "there is no interrogation of that."

In the spring, when Covid-19 vaccination was just starting and supplies were tight, SAAL would see as many as 1,500 people sign up online in the first two hours, Patel said. Things have changed dramatically since then, and domestic vaccine supplies are abundant.

As of Wednesday, 274,214 Lancaster County residents were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, just over 50% of the county's total population, according to Pennsylvania's Covid-19 vaccine dashboard. Vaccination rates increase with age, exceeding 80% for those over 65, who are at highest risk.

More than 18,000 county residents have received booster shots.

Click to enlarge. (Source: LG Health)
Tim Stuhldreher