St. Clair Hospital officials say they haven’t received a shipment of first-dose covid-19 vaccines in three weeks, leading to hundreds of canceled appointments and clinics.
In addition to the individual appointments, the hospital has also canceled three clinics at senior-living centers: Twin Towers, Dormont Place and Carnegie Retirement Residence, hospital spokesman Robert Crytzer said.
More than 5,000 people — established patients at the Mt. Lebanon hospital — are on the vaccine waiting list, he said.
Crytzer said the hospital has raised its concerns with the state Department of Health, which is responsible for distributing the vaccines among providers in 66 counties. Philadelphia works directly with the federal government.
“Foremost among those concerns is that, without St. Clair’s participation in the distribution process, the most vulnerable populations in the South Hills will be disadvantaged in securing access to the vaccine,” hospital officials said in a statement.
Officials alerted patients earlier this week that appointments would be rescheduled after no first-shot doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered.
Department of Health records confirm the last shipment St. Clair received from the state was Feb. 22 and included 2,145 doses.
In the weeks prior, the hospital received 975 doses on Jan. 25, Jan. 28 and Feb. 1, and a shipment of 1,950 on Feb. 11.
The department on Wednesday provided a breakdown of how it determines the number of vaccines that will go to each provider.
That decision is based on two elements, the first being by county need. The need of a particular county is based on four separate weighted factors: the population over the age of 65 (weighted at 30%), the total population (weighted at 20%), the number of covid cases (weighted at 20%) and the number of covid deaths (weighted at 30%).
The second prong of the decision-making looks at provider capacity – the number of vaccines requested by a particular provider and their ability to administer and store the vaccine.
Hospital officials said they’re hopeful first-dose shipments will resume next week.
“It’s profoundly disappointing to those who thought they were right on the cusp of being vaccinated,” Dr. John Sullivan, chief medical officer, told Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV.
By Megan Guza – Reporter, Tribune Review