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Vaccine rollout in Pennsylvania is going smoother than it is in New York

Give credit where it’s due — Pennsylvania officials and local officials are rolling out a much smoother COVID-19 vaccination process than New York state.

All states have their own vaccination phases. For Pennsylvania, Phase 1B includes everyone over 75 years of age and various professional groups. Phase 1C includes ages 65 and up and everyone who meets the minimum age requirement for the vaccines (some 16, some 18) with high risk conditions. Phase 2 includes everyone else, except those who have conditions that makes the vaccine unsafe for them.

Most noteworthy, though, is the way the state Health Department is working with other providers for those phases. The state has created a COVID Vaccine Dashboard, which shows that in addition to Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital and the Lewistown Community Health Center, Weis Markets locations in Burnham and Mifflintown have agreements to eventually administer the vaccine. The Rite Aid in Mount Union is already doing so and the Mount Union Medical Center could soon follow suit.

For now, both local Weis locations and the Mount Union Medical Center are indicated with red push pins — meaning they have agreements, but not vaccine. There could be other local pharmacies and clinics added as well.

Having distribution sites set up is important. In New York, there is confusion over where vaccines will be available and the appointment systems are a veritable disaster.

One would think the situations would be reversed, given that New York has county health departments to help implement state policy.

The difference, of course, is that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has kept management of the vaccination process at the state level in New York state while Pennsylvania is working through its local health providers.

Pennsylvania’s vaccination process may not be perfect, but it could always be worse — it could be New York’s.

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