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HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced a new COVID-19 vaccine order Friday which aims to speed up vaccine administration in the state.

Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam issued an order Friday directing vaccine providers’ administration of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that Pennsylvanians are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible, according to a news release from the state Department of Health.

The order directs vaccine providers to administer 80 percent of their first doses of vaccine received within seven days of receipt of those doses. Vaccine providers must adhere to the current phase of Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout, as defined by the department.

The order says vaccine providers giving a two-dose vaccine need to provide the COVID-19 vaccine reminder card with a date for a return appointment for the second dose of vaccine. Vaccine providers giving a two-dose vaccine must make every appropriate effort to ensure available appointments for second doses, including designating appointment times for second doses or scheduling second doses at the time of first dose administration, or both.

Vaccine providers must have both an online and a phone-based registration system for direct appointment scheduling. Information on these systems must be made available to the department so it can be posted online, the state Department of Health said.

Vaccine providers are now required to report vaccinations and the information required by the Order Requiring Reporting of Data Related to Each Administration of an Immunization for COVID-19, dated December 15, 2020, on each vaccine administered, including race and ethnicity of the recipient, whether or not the recipient is connected to the vaccine provider.

Within 24 hours of receipt of inventory or administration of a vaccine, vaccine providers need to report receipt of shipments of COVID-19 immunization inventory, reduction in inventory levels as vaccines are administered, and reconciliation of inventory levels.  

Vaccine providers may have their allocation of first doses reduced, or temporarily suspended, for failure to comply with guidance from the federal government and state law, including failure to comply with the order, the state Department of Health said. Allocations of first doses reduced or temporarily suspended may be restored once a vaccine provider provides assurance of future compliance of the order to the department. If a vaccine provider doesn’t administer 80 percent of its first doses within seven days of receiving those doses, the provider will still be able to receive second doses.

The online and phone-based registration system requirements will take effect 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 19. The allocation enforcement will take effect 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 22.

The rest of the order takes effect immediately.

More than 1.5 million doses have been administered in the state so far. Officials reminded Pennsylvanians to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing.

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