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System among first to receive vaccine in Pennsylvania

DANVILLE, Pa. – Today, Geisinger employees became among the first in Pennsylvania to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Within 24 hours of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arriving at Geisinger facilities, front-line health care workers rolled up their sleeves to get their first of two doses.

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.

About Geisinger
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 Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Nurse gives doctor vaccine.
Muhammad Sabih Saleem, M.D., is one of the first Geisinger front-line staff members to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The first dose of the two-dose vaccine was given to Saleem by Karen Nowicki, LPN, at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Nurse gives nurse a COVID vaccine.
Tara Skutack, RN, is one of the first Geisinger front-line staff members to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The first dose of the two-dose vaccine was given to Skutack by Karen Nowicki, LPN, at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Nurse holds vaccine.
Karen Nowicki, LPN, holding one of the doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Nowicki was providing the first doses of the two-dose vaccine to front-line health care workers at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center on Wednesday.

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