Voters to Weigh in on Pa. Government Pandemic power Struggle

Voters to weigh in on Pa. government pandemic power struggle
By MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The pandemic power struggle that’s raged for a year between Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor and its Republican-led Legislature will land on voters’ laps next month. It’s taking the form of two proposed constitutional amendments to limit the length of disaster emergencies. There are four statewide ballot questions in all this spring. The others would put anti-discrimination language into the state constitution and give paid fire and rescue departments the same borrowing power that volunteer departments have had for decades. The primary is May 18. One of the proposed constitutional amendments asks voters to decide whether to have disaster emergency declarations expire after three weeks, rather than three months.

AHN Following Recommendation and will Pause Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

PITTSBURGH (Apr. 13, 2021) – This morning, the CDC and FDA recommended that the U.S. pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. This recommendation came after six reported cases in the U.S. of women ages 18 to 48 who experienced a rare blood clotting disorder that occurred 6 to 13 days following receipt of the J&J vaccine. To date, nearly 7 million doses of the vaccine have been administered nationwide.

In line with this recommendation from the CDC, FDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) will pause distribution of the J&J vaccine. The network will continue to administer both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

AHN has received no reports of this rare blood clotting condition to date from individuals following vaccination with the J&J vaccine. However, people who have received this vaccine type and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

AHN will continue to monitor this situation closely and await further guidance from the CDC and FDA following their closer review of these reported cases.

Heritage Valley Not Affected by J&J Vaccine Pause. Has Now Vaccinated Over 60,000 People

(Moon Twp., Pa.) Suzanne Sakson, Director of Marketing and Communications for Heritage Valley Health System, said via e-mail statement this morning that Heritage Valley’s efforts to vaccinate local residents is not affected by the pause in the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine because Heritage Valley has only utilized the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines.

As of today, Heritage Valley is reporting that they have administered more than 60,000 doses of vaccine. 24,000 people have received both doses and 36, 000 people have received the first dose.

Heritage Valley has also said that they have vaccination clinics scheduled for both first and second doses through early June.

If you haven’t scheduled your appointment for a vaccination now that everyone in Pennsylvania is eligible to be vaccinated as of today you can go to https://www.heritagevalley.org/pages/covid19vaccine

Make sure you tune into Beaver County Radio at 11:10 on Friday for President and CEO Norm Mitry’s weekly interview with Eddy Crow on Teleforum.

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports
By ZEKE MILLER Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.

Gov. Wolf and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Announce that All Adults in Pennsylvania are Eligible Tomorrow to Schedule COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced that effective tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13, all Pennsylvania adults will be eligible to schedule an appointment for the COVID -19 vaccine.

“We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine rollout, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased,” Gov. Wolf said. “Therefore, just as President Biden has brought forward universal adult access to vaccines from May 1 to April 19, we are moving Pennsylvania’s timeline of universal adult access to April 13.”

The Department of Health noted that there is ongoing appointment availability in many parts of the state even as Phase 1A and B continue and 1C begins today. With the change in eligibility, those in Phase 2 will become eligible, opening up vaccines to all. Our ongoing initiative with the Area Agencies on Aging to provide assistance to vulnerable seniors for accessing vaccine will continue, as will our other equity initiatives.

“Everyone needs and should be afforded the opportunity to access the vaccine as soon as possible,” Acting Sec. of Health Alison Beam said. “And, this change provides earlier access for many, including college students increasing the likelihood of completion of two-dose regimens prior to leaving campus for the summer. It also means simpler, streamlined operations for vaccine providers that no longer need to check eligibility of people making appointments.”

To date, Pennsylvania providers have administered more than 6 million vaccines and the state is ranked among the top 20 states for first-dose vaccinations. More than 2.4 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated.

Pennsylvanians can find providers on the COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Map here.

“Please get vaccinated,” said Sen. Art Haywood.

“It is precisely the bipartisan cooperation of this Joint Task Force coupled with the tremendous work of our provider network that has allowed our Commonwealth to make rapid progress in our vaccine rollout, now expanding eligibility so that every Pennsylvanian who wants to be vaccinated has the opportunity to do so immediately,” said Sen. Ryan Aument. “Because we have maintained our commitment to residents within phases 1A and 1B, we can now further accelerate the rollout and protect our communities, particularly by ensuring that college students can be vaccinated before returning home to their families for the summer.”

“The administration, our task force, and all of our local providers have collaborated together to achieve the goal put forth by President Biden,” said Rep. Bridget Kosierowski. “With the number of COVID-19 positive cases continuing to rise some areas of our state, it is imperative that everyone who wants to schedule an appointment for a vaccine can  have that opportunity to do so.“

“I’m pleased we are able to speed up eligibility so that all Pennsylvanians who want a vaccine can schedule one,” Rep. Tim O’Neal said. “Western Pennsylvania has hosted a number of vaccine clinics in recent days where supply has outstripped demand. We were able to get approval to expand eligibility at one of these clinics, but it only makes sense to open vaccinations to all. The work of the task force has shown when all parties work in a collaborative fashion, we can accomplish a lot in a short timeframe.”

“This further-accelerated plan will move us much closer to the goal of vaccinating Pennsylvanians as quickly and equitably as possible,” Gov. Wolf said.

Pennsylvania makes essential workers eligible for vaccine

Pennsylvania makes essential workers eligible for vaccine
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania has expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to essential workers in a range of industries on Monday. Workers in transportation and logistics, construction, public health, finance, legal services and several other industries became eligible to sign up for the vaccine on Monday. State officials have said the newly eligible population totals between 1.3 million and 1.7 million people. Pennsylvania plans to make the shot available to everyone aged 16 and older on April 19 to meet a deadline set by President Joe Biden. Most states have already made adults universally eligible for the vaccine.

Department of Health: Cancel Duplicate Appointments to Help Ensure Vaccine is Available for All

Department of Health: Cancel Duplicate Appointments to Help Ensure Vaccine is Available for All

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam today urged all Pennsylvanians to remember to both attend a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and cancel any unneeded appointments so that all vaccine doses get into the arms of people.

“All three available vaccines are safe and effective, and we need folks to get the first available vaccine,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “If you have scheduled appointments at numerous places as part of your attempt to get vaccinated, please remember to call those other locations and cancel the remaining appointments. You can let them know that you have been vaccinated.

“Each time someone is a no-show for an appointment, it increases the chances of a dose of vaccine being wasted if the appointment cannot be refilled by someone else who has not yet been vaccinated.”

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines available, Janssen, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. All three vaccines are safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations, serious illness and death. It is important that Pennsylvanians take the first vaccine available to help quickly and efficiently vaccinate as many people as possible.

Vaccine providers work to ensure vaccine is ready for each appointment made. When someone does not show up for an appointment, their dose has already been removed from the storage requirements and often has to be used that day.

Previously, vaccine providers who had leftover doses for individuals who did not show up for their scheduled appointment called others who were on waiting lists. However, many vaccine providers have exhausted waiting lists.

When an individual receives their first dose (or single dose) of vaccine, it is important to call other locations where they may have also scheduled an appointment. This will not only prevent waste, but also allows that appointment slot to be opened to someone who still needs to be vaccinated.

Vaccine dose waste is very low – less than one-tenth of one percentage point and missed appointments are thought to be a cause of some waste, not to mention that an unfilled appointment means one less person getting vaccinated in a timely manner.

“Throughout this pandemic, Pennsylvanians have shown their commitment to working together,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “As we work to vaccinate all those who wish to be vaccinated, we ask people to give a courtesy call to cancel unneeded appointments with other providers with whom they previously scheduled appointments. This will allow us to ensure that each shot is put into the arm of a person.”

It is also important that people visit their vaccine provider for their second dose. Providers are working to schedule second dose appointments at the time of first dose appointment or immediately after first doses are received.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Over 6.2 Million Vaccinations to Date, First Doses of Vaccine to 36% of Population, PA Ranks 20th Among 50 States for First Dose Vaccinations

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 10, there were 4,882 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,068,974.

There are 2,439 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 496 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.

The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per day is about 3,900 lower than it was at the peak on December 25, 2020. The current 14-day average is also below what it was at the height of the spring peak on May 3, 2020. However, the moving average of number of hospitalized patients has started to increase.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of March 26 – April 1 stood at 9.4%.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

As of 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 9 there were 40 new deaths identified by the Pennsylvania death registry, reported for a total of 25,402 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 14 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 21. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine was first allocated to Pennsylvania the week of March 1, and the commonwealth is using it for a special initiative involving K-12 and early education educators and support staff. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

Vaccine highlights

  • According to the CDC, as of Saturday morning, April 10, Pennsylvania has administered first doses of vaccine to 36% of its eligible population, and the state ranks 20th among all 50 states for first doses administered by percentage of population.
  • According to the CDC, as of Saturday morning, April 10, Pennsylvania ranks 6th among all 50 states for total doses administered.
  • Vaccine providers have administered 6,233,317 total vaccine doses as of Saturday, April 10.
  • 2,299,256 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of more than 88,800 people per day receiving vaccinations.
  • 1,828,141 people are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.
  • 4,127,397 people have received at least their first dose.

 

  • This week, a total of 6,580,640 doses will have been allocated through April 10:
    • 442,310 first/single doses will have been allocated this week.
    • 268,010 second doses will have been allocated this week.

 

  • To date, we have administered 6,233,317 doses total through April 10:
    • First/single doses:  4,127,397 administered
    • Second doses:  2,105,920 administered

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home, even if fully vaccinated. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 136,049 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 639 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

There are 4,220,187 individuals who have tested negative to date.

In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there are 69,805 resident cases of COVID-19, and 14,458 cases among employees, for a total of 84,263 at 1,582 distinct facilities in all 67 counties. Out of total deaths reported to PA-NEDSS, 12,988 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. Note that the number of deaths reported to NEDSS is not exactly the same as the COVID-19 related deaths reported by the death registry. The number of deaths among nursing and personal care home residents and employees is taken from the PA-NEDSS death data, as this information is not available in the death registry data.

Approximately 26,889 of our total cases are among health care workers.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, April 9:

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

AHN to Vaccinate 13,000 People Over Next Two Days with Johnson & Johnson. Appointments Still Available

***** Breaking News- Walk-Ins will be accepted Friday Only

(Pittsburgh, Pa.) AHN and the Allegheny County Health Department will hold a Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Clinic today and tomorrow.

The clinic is appointment-only and AHN is planning on vaccinating a total of 13,000 individuals who will have the opportunity to receive the single-dose shot. Open appointments are still available. **To schedule an appointment for today’s or Saturday’s clinics, visit www.ahn.org/coronavirus and click “Check for Appointments.” Appointments can also be made by calling 412-DOCTORS between 7 AM and 8 PM.**

The Clinic is being held at Next Tier Connect @ Pittsburgh East 4350 Northern Pike Monroeville from 8 AM to 4PM both days