BOYERTOWN, Pa. — Pennsylvania is telling COVID-19 vaccine providers to book appointments.
Alison Beam, the state's acting health secretary, said providers should make every effort to book appointments for everyone who qualifies and wants a shot by the end of March.
"My biggest mission is not to waste doses and get it into arms," said Ed Hudon, a pharmacist and the owner of the Medicine Shoppe in Boyertown.
Hudon said the state's new order regarding vaccination appointments makes things a little challenging because a lot of people make multiple appointments.
"If we are navigating four and five weeks at a time, navigating and trying to figure out who's duplicates, it gets a little bit more difficult," said Hudon.
There is concern if people are scheduling appointments to get the vaccine with multiple providers that doses won't be distributed correctly and may end up being wasted.
"We're not going to know where those doses are needing to be, and it's going to cause a problem with somebody that could've gotten availability on a particular day not being able to schedule," Hudon explained.
Tower Health officials said they are committed to fulfilling the state's order, which requires providers to schedule appointments for all phase 1A individuals. They said starting April 1, they will have 300 vaccine appointments open at their clinic and plan to hold two mobile clinics. A spokesperson also said people currently on Tower Health's vaccine interest wait list will soon be contacted.
Hudon said despite being a challenge, his pharmacy will make it work. Right now, it's working on scheduling tools to accommodate the state's order, but he's asking the community to be patient.
"Even if you get two doses right now," Hudon said, "we still have to get to herd immunity. We still have to socially distance ourselves, so it's just a process, and the community needs to be part of that process."