A new website and phone number for UPMC allows people to sign up for notifications and schedule an appointment when the COVID-19 vaccine is available, although appointments are not immediately scheduled.
However, UPMC said it is encouraging people to sign up so they can get an appointment quickly when the vaccine is available.
“The supply of vaccines from the state and federal government is still limited, but if you register now, we will be able to contact you to schedule an appointment when the vaccine is available. Please be patient – we want to vaccinate as many people as possible and will do so quickly once we receive the vaccine from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There is no other way to get vaccinated other than the Commonwealth, and vaccinating the public will take weeks to months, not days, “said UPMC.
People can find more information and register here. UPMC said its vaccine is available to both patients and non-patients. People who prefer to register by phone can call 844-876-2822 between 7 am and 7 pm any day.
UPMC faces the same shortage that affects most, if not all other health systems and pharmacies. While tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians schedule and get vaccinated each week, a long delay quickly emerged after Pennsylvania expanded vaccine eligibility on January 19. Some providers stopped accepting requests for new appointments.
York-based WellSpan, for example, recently said it has a backlog of around 45,000 people looking for dates.
The good news is that vaccination of healthcare workers, who have received much of the supply so far, is declining, leaving more vaccines for others.
Pennsylvania’s vaccine allocation, which is being distributed by the federal government, has also been on the rise.
Last week, Pennsylvania received 183,575 first doses and 143,275 second doses.
As of early Monday, Pennsylvania has received about 3 million doses since the vaccine became available shortly before Christmas. Approximately 632,000 people have received the two doses necessary for complete protection.
Approximately 4 million Pennsylvanians are enrolled in Phase 1A to receive the vaccine, which includes healthcare workers, long-term care residents, all people 65 and older, and people 16 to 64 years with chronic diseases.