HARRISBURG – You may remember CATE, the state’s COVID-19 mobile response unit used for testing and education that launched last summer…now it’s hitting the road again to provide vaccines to minority and underserved communities. The Department of Health, Latino Connection and other health officials announced this new initiative during a news conference Monday.
Latino Connection Founder and CEO George Fernandez, “Starting next week, those who want a vaccine can visit www.catemobileunit.com to pre-register for an upcoming vaccination event. A total of 120 vaccination events will take place across the commonwealth over the coming months.”
This announcement comes the same day Governor Tom Wolf announced all Pennsylvania adults are now vaccine eligible starting tomorrow. Fernandez says CATE will also be on hand for 100 education table top events for those without internet and those who attend can also schedule appointments.
With all Pennsylvanians being vaccine eligible after tomorrow, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam says the state is still ‘incredibly concerned’ about continued vaccine hesitancy, “We know the supply has been our dilemma in the rollout so far, and we’re reaching a tipping point in Pennsylvania where by the supply…while we still need more at this stage, its going to require us being more convincing of folks. It’s going to require educational efforts like this to allow folks to really address any of the hesitation they have to getting vaccinated.
Beam says the Department of Health has set a goal of vaccinating 80% of the population.
She says there also no concerns about appointment backlogs, as was the case earlier this year, “Not only has supply increased, but we also have given those providers the ability to schedule out. They didn’t have the predictability or certainty that they required to be able to schedule an appointment even a week out, let alone a month out. Again, being eligible means being able to get an appointment scheduled and I think its a good tempering of expectations. It doesn’t mean a shot in the arm today.”
CATE also becomes the first mobile vaccine unit in Pennsylvania.