LEWISBURG – Evangelical Community Hospital says it hasn’t been receiving the amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses its asked for weekly from the state due to limited supply. President and CEO Kendra Aucker says recent winter weather has also caused delays, “At the beginning, we were getting what we asked for. Now it’s been behind. We’ve been getting the second doses…you’ve pretty much been promised if you get the first doses in arms you’ll get the second doses…In the last two weeks, it appears to be related to the distribution because of weather impacts.”
This latest setback comes after Evangelical temporarily halted accepting new vaccine appointments January 29. Brian Wolfe, Vice President of Physician and Clinic Practices, says the hospital has been requesting anywhere from 1,500-2,500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week, which include first and second doses. Wolfe says the hospital has not consistently had all its requests filled. Aucker says the hospital still has over 20,000 scheduled appointments, plus a huge waiting list once appointment scheduling resumes.
But Aucker says the hospital has been in compliance with the Department of Health’s new orders announced last week to help expedite the vaccination distribution process, “When we got the criteria, we looked at everything and we were doing exactly what they asked. We’re not hoarding vaccine…I think they’re have been individuals who’ve received it and were keeping it tucked away…sort of stock-piling it to some degree…and they can track that. They don’t want that. They want you to get it out as soon as you get it. They just want to know that they’re shipping it out and it’s getting out to the public.”
Aucker says Evangelical has administered at least the first dose of the vaccine to about 5,000 people, over 1,200 of whom have received both doses and are fully vaccinated. She says 65% of hospital employees have also been vaccinated, and has a goal of getting at least 75% of the hospital workforce vaccinated. Aucker says for the community to start getting back to normal, the CDC says 75-85% of residents should be vaccinated.