More than 50% of the adult population of Allegheni County has been partially vaccinated against covid-19, local authorities said on Wednesday. Among residents over the age of 65, more than 78% received at least one dose.
County officials encourage people to make appointments and get the vaccine as soon as possible.
“The fewer people getting vaccinated, the longer this virus will stay in our lives, and the best way to defeat this virus is to continue spreading the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, health. county director.
Bogen said he was worried about the vaccine’s hesitation. She said the “boots on the ground”
The county is in what Bogen called the “fourth wave” of covid cases, with several hundred new infections reported every day. As of Wednesday, the county’s PCR test was 9.6% positive, a full percentage higher than last week. Hospitalizations and covid-related deaths also continue to increase.
Bogen’s remarks came a day after federal regulators recommended a break in the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine after a blood clot was detected in six women two weeks after the shooting.
Bogen noted the rarity of clots – more than 6.8 million doses have been given in the United States – and asked residents to sign up for Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations anyway.
“As director of your health department, I urge you not to look at this pause as a signal that our local, state or federal vaccination efforts are in any way flawed,” she said. “Rather, look at this answer as proof that health professionals will take and have taken decisive action at the slightest hint of a problem.”
She said people who develop severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath should contact their healthcare provider.
The health department had partnered with local health systems on a series of mass vaccination clinics, including a two-day clinic with UPMC and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pittsburgh Mills in Fraser. Bogen said the break would not change the overall vaccine strategy of the health department.
While the department expected to receive and administer about 12,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson per week in the coming weeks, through its efforts with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association, they are considered “regional doses.” County clinics – in McKeesport, Castle Shannon, Ross and Pittsburgh’s Hill District – rely heavily on Pfizer and Moderna.
Bogen said the county’s data on breakthrough cases – intercepted infections in people who had previously received a shot – were also encouraging so far. As of April 13, she said the health department was aware of 109 outbreaks of 213,000 vaccinated people. This amounts to about 0.05%.
Teghan Simonton is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, email@example.com or via Twitter.