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Geisinger surpasses 20,000 vaccine milestone

PHOTO PROVIDED Deb Thennes, a home health worker, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of Geisinger’s COVID-19 vaccine centers. Geisinger opened four vaccine centers earlier this week to accommodate expanding the COVID vaccine distribution to those in Tier 1A groups, as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Thennes received the vaccine from nurse Noelle Gotshall.

DANVILLE — Geisinger’s health system administered its 20,000th COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Since mid-December, Geisinger has provided vaccines to health system employees and non-Geisinger health care employees who qualify for the vaccine.

Of the 20,000 vaccines Geisinger provided, over 16,000 were first doses and 14,000 were for employees. Four thousand employees have already received their second dose.

That makes up about 60 percent of Geisinger’s employees.

Ten percent of the non-Geisinger healthcare personnel in the phase 1A group determined by the state, have also received their first doses.

Both of the vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are being administered to the Geisinger and non-Geisinger employees and require both doses in order to develop an immunity against the virus.

To provide these vaccines, Geisinger opened four “community based COVID vaccine centers” on Tuesday to expand vaccinations to the community in accordance with the state Department of Health, according to the press release.

The centers are located in Danville, Jersey Shore, Lewistown and Pittston.

Meanwhile, Geisinger health system is still seeing very high averages of positive COVID tests, noting that one in five people are testing positive.

In the beginning of January, Geisinger was seeing daily positivity rates of 300 to 400 new cases a day, with on average one in four patients being hospitalized.

Though the roll-out of the vaccination is exciting and many doctors are enthusiastic about the process, they are still urging the public and even those who have been vaccinated, to take precaution and to use the preventative measures like wearing a mask properly over your nose and mouth, social distancing, not congregating with those outside of your household and staying home when you are sick.

For those who qualify in the phase 1A group like health care personnel, emergency medicine service personnel, dentists and dental hygienists, psychologists, clinical staff in school settings, non-Geisinger health care professionals, you can schedule an appointment through my Geisinger, a program used for scheduling appointments, messaging doctors and test results.

Vaccines are only done through appointments and a questionnaire must be completed prior according to Geisinger.

Personnel who schedule an appointment must be prepared to bring healthcare-related identification and their driver’s license to verify eligibility.

For more information and to see if you are eligible, visit geisinger.org/COVIDvax.

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