Earlier this week, the Department of Health expanded criteria for priority groups in phase 1-A of the vaccine rollout. Area health experts say it does not improve the supply.
"The state is not given very advanced notice as to how much they're going to get it and it does vary from week to week. Because the state isn't given a lot of notice, they can't give the distributors significant advanced notice either," said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke's Infectious Disease Specialist.
The expansion includes those 65 and older, which amounts to more than 3.5 million Pennsylvanians. Add those 16 and older with underlying health conditions and that number is even higher. Dr. Jahre says 143,000 vaccines were distributed across the state just this week.
"They have to distribute that out throughout the state. You can figure out that those two numbers don't mesh," said Jahre.
Because of this, St. Luke's is focusing their efforts only on those over 75 years old for now. They say this way they can ensure shots make it into arms.
"At some point, and we're hoping that might be within a couple of months, there'll be enough vaccine for virtually everyone out there who wants it, to get it. But that, again we want to emphasize, is not the case right now," said Jahre.
Between 11 sites offering vaccines seven days a week, St. Luke's has still managed to immunize 3,000 people a day with a goal to increase that number very soon.
"Our goal is to be up to 5,000 in the next few weeks, again, if we can get enough vaccine from the state," said Colleen Sprissler, St. Luke's Director of Hospital Applications.
Anyone who wants to register can on the St. Luke's website by registering for a MyChart account. Users fill out a questionnaire and will be notified when they can make an appointment.