UPMC’s new website and phone number allow people to sign up to be notified and make an appointment when the COVID-19 vaccine is available, although appointments are not immediately scheduled .
However, UPMC said it was encouraging people to sign up so they can quickly get an appointment when the vaccine becomes available.
“State and federal vaccine supply is still limited, but by signing up now we will be able to contact you to make an appointment when the vaccine becomes available. Please be patient, we want to vaccinate as many people as possible and we will do it quickly once we get the vaccine from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There is no way to get vaccinated outside of the Commonwealth, and vaccinating the public will take weeks, months, not days, ”the UPMC said.
People can find more information and register here. The UPMC said its vaccine is available to patients as well as to non-patients. Those who prefer to register by phone can call 844-876-2822 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
UPMC faces the same shortage affecting most if not all other health care systems and pharmacies. While tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians meet up and get vaccinated every week, a major backlog quickly arose after Pennsylvania expanded vaccine eligibility on Jan.19. Some suppliers have stopped taking requests for new appointments.
York-based WellSpan recently said it has a backlog of around 45,000 people looking for dates.
The good news is that the vaccination of healthcare workers, who have received much of the supply so far, is ending, leaving more vaccines for the rest.
Pennsylvania’s vaccine allowance, which is distributed by the federal government, has also increased.
Last week, Pennsylvania received 183,575 first doses and 143,275 seconds.
As of early Monday, Pennsylvania received about 3 million doses since the vaccine became available shortly before Christmas. About 632,000 people received the two doses needed for full protection.
About 4 million Pennsylvanians are in Phase 1A to receive the vaccine, which includes healthcare workers, long-term care residents, all people 65 years of age and older, and people 16 to 64 years of age with chronic health problems.