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UPMC plans for vaccine expansion

UPMC is waiting on more vaccines to come in before they can administer them to the rest of the folks in group 1A.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Medical professionals at UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport are planning for the latest rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Just a few days ago, Pennsylvania expanded who could get the vaccine in group 1A.

"The expansion of 1A would entail patients over the age of 65 and those age 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions that may pose an increased risk if they had a COVID infection," said Dr. David Lopatofsky at UPMC Susquehanna.

However, that doesn't mean those groups will be able to get the vaccine right away here in the Susquehanna region. UPMC is still waiting on more vaccines to arrive from Harrisburg.

"We do not have current visibility from Harrisburg for when those vaccines will be coming to us so that we can start those vaccinations," said Dr. Lopatofsky.

UPMC officials told Newswatch 16 that when they do get the vaccines, they will begin hosting pop-up clinics for those who are eligible.

"We think that we would probably use our community-based clinics that we have in the counties we serve. These are the community-based clinics we have been using to vaccinate allied health professionals."

The hospital system is making sure its health care workers are vaccinated first.

"We have vaccinated the majority of our health care workers within the UPMC system for their first dose, and the second dose is ongoing currently."

Medical professionals also told Newswatch 16 that once you do get the vaccine, you should still avoid gatherings and continue to wear a mask.