About 25,000 people will receive a covid-19 vaccine in the next week at multiple drive-thru clinics in Western Pennsylvania.
Allegheny Health Network and UPMC, the region’s two largest health systems, announced a partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday to provide Johnson & Johnson shots to the public.
AHN and the health department will work together this Friday and Saturday to vaccinate 13,000 people in Phase 1A and 1B. This two-day clinic will be held at Next Tier Connect @ Pittsburgh East, an office building and campus near AHN’s Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.
The clinic will be the largest in the region to date to deliver the single-use Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those interested in receiving the vaccine can visit AHN.org/coronavirus or call 412-DOCTORS to make an appointment.
“In what we hope will be the final phase of our pandemic response, we are extremely excited to partner with the county to provide access to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to a large number of people in our community,” said Dr. Imran Qadeer, chief medical officer of Allegheny General Hospital and a leader of AHN’s covid vaccination operations.
The clinic is operated in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania National Guard.
The Pittsburgh Mills clinic is scheduled for April 14-15
Next week, an additional 12,000 people will be vaccinated at a two-day drive-thru clinic at the Pittsburgh Mills shopping center in Frazer. The clinic plans to vaccinate up to 700 people per hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays, officials said. It’s held in the empty Sears Grand store.
The clinic will function as a pit crew: patients will be able to drive up to any of the 35 vaccination tents, register, go through a rapid clinical screening and receive a dose.
The entire process takes two to three minutes, says Mark Sevco, president of UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Patients are then directed to a nearby parking lot where they will park for observation for 15 minutes.
The clinic is hosted by UPMC and the Pittsburgh Penguins in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department.
It will be the largest single-dose clinic that the healthcare giant has hosted.
Sevco said UPMC and the health department have committed to do another clinic two weeks after the initial clinic, to administer an additional 12,000 doses in Pittsburgh Mills.
The clinic was powered by 12,000 Johnson & Johnson doses assigned to the Allegheny County Health Department, confirmed Tuesday, the day before UPMC announced the clinic. Sevco said the two entities have teamed up to host more large-scale vaccination events that could take place on a regular basis, allowing vaccines to be distributed more quickly and to the most people.
“That’s really the most important thing,” said Sevco. “This is really a race of the vaccine versus the variants, and we really encourage everyone to sign up. Covid is still around, and we need to use the vaccine quickly. ”
“We are grateful for receiving those vaccines,” added Sevco. “It goes beyond the vaccines we are getting from all of our existing sites.”
UPMC opened its first drive-thru clinic in Allegheny County at Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry in March. That clinic targeted the northern communities of Allegheny County and parts of Beaver and Butler counties.
But the Pittsburgh Mills clinic is much larger, Sevco noted: While 500 first doses of Moderna were administered in one day at the Lemieux complex, 6,000 Johnson & Johnson injections will be given every day of the two-day clinic next week.
Sevco said UPMC had evaluated several potential locations for the larger clinic and found Pittsburgh Mills to be the best in terms of size, scope and parking options. Its location near Route 28 makes it easily accessible to a wider geographic population.
He said people on UPMC waiting lists have been invited from seven counties.
Drive-thru clinics are becoming best practices for mass dose delivery, Sevco said. They are more efficient and time-saving and are easier for patients with ambulatory or mobility problems.
The clinic’s announcement coincides with the first week of Pennsylvania Phase 1B in terms of vaccine eligibility, including first responders, people in compound settings such as shelters and prisons, and many other populations. By the time the clinic opens next week, Phase 1C will also have started, making other “essential” workers eligible for the vaccine.
Sevco said the Pittsburgh Mills clinic will be open to all of these phases next week – and the second clinic will be open to everyone two weeks later. All Pennsylvania adults are eligible for vaccination on April 19.
“We are open access for this event,” said Sevco. “The good news is that we currently have 12,000 new patient appointments.”
Teghan Simonton is a writer on the Tribune Review staff. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter