System among first to receive vaccine in Pennsylvania
As one of the first health care systems in the Commonwealth to receive the vaccine, Geisinger is providing it to front-line staff whose daily work involves significant interactions with COVID-19 patients and other staff in critical departments. This vaccination plan is in alignment with Pennsylvania Department of Health and federal guidelines for providing the vaccine in this initial phase. The first vaccinations occurred at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Geisinger anticipates receiving between 2,000 and 3,000 doses in this initial shipment. With about 14,000 front-line workers, Geisinger will be administering the vaccine as quickly as supplies allow to the eligible employees. The system is leveraging its transportation technology, communications, and scheduling capabilities to efficiently administer the vaccine.
For answers to questions about the vaccine, visit our COVID-19 vaccine resources center at geisinger.org/COVIDvax.
Though the vaccine is starting to be administered, the ongoing community spread of the virus continues. As of midnight Wednesday, 254 patients with COVID-19 were admitted to hospitals throughout the system, meaning 1 in 4 hospitalizations are for COVID-19. On average over the past two weeks, Geisinger hospitals admitted more than one patient per hour with COVID-19, and outpatient testing centers continued to see about 360 new positive COVID-19 tests per day. This indicates an average positivity rate of about 22 percent, meaning at least 1 in 5 people may be infected in COVID-19.
Continuing to follow the recommended preventive measures of masking, physical distancing and handwashing remains critical. While front-line hospital staff are receiving the vaccine, it will likely be well into 2021 before enough people are vaccinated to allow for loosening these recommendations. Front-line health care workers who receive the vaccine will continue to wear masks and proper personal protective equipment.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.