PHCA hopes new Pa. plan will result in more vaccines for seniors

Written by on April 20, 2021

PHCA hopes new Pa. plan will result in more vaccines for seniors

By Hayden Mitman

April 20, 2021

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

Roughly 20% of elder care residents across Pennsylvania have yet to be vaccinated according to numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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Advocates for these vulnerable residents say they are cautiously optimistic about a new state plan to get the remaining shots into arms. 

Since December, the commonwealth has relied on a federal program that worked with pharmacies to get the vaccine into long-term care facilities. But that ended earlier this month. 

Zach Shamberg, president of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, says nursing homes had to scramble. 

“It really has been every provider for themselves. When we are talking about the most vulnerable residents in Pennsylvania, we can’t leave them out on their own to try and find the vaccine,” Shamberg says. 

The new state program basically continues the old plan: connecting pharmacies to elder care. It aims to streamline how vaccines are obtained.

And it doesn’t have an end date, which is something Shamberg has asked for since the rollout started.

“We are thankful that there is a plan, but as we’ve learned over the past year, the devil is in the details. We are going to need to see this plan followed through,” he says.

He hopes to work closely with the state to ensure residents and staff at long-term care facilities are vaccinated. 

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