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WellSpan Health Explains Its Vaccine Policies

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Gettysburg Connection talked today with Ryan Coyle, WellSpan Public Relations & Communications Manager, about WellSpan’s past vaccine policies and what the public can expect going forward.

Here is an edited transcript of Coyle’s statement during our conversation:

 “We opened up and began Phase 1A in late December. We started with front line workers and other employees who had contact with patients, including dieticians, housekeeping, and other staff, as well as state-registered EMS workers.

In early January we opened to independent physicians and staff – doctors and nurses outside the hospital who come in contact with COVID-19.

On January 10 or so we moved to vaccinate all WellSpan employees.  The operation of the health system was deemed critical enough so that anyone in the system was scheduled.

Last Tuesday, January 19, the Governor expanded phase 1A to allow people 65 and over to be vaccinated, as well as those of ages 18-64 with some pre-existing conditions.

We opened online scheduling across 21 WellSpan locations for those who fell in the expanded 1A category on that Tuesday.  We invited people to go to mywellspan.org to sign up, where anybody could make an appointment. 

There was tremendous interest.  Within 48 hours between Tuesday and Thursday we scheduled 45,000 appointments across the WellSpan system. 

But there were a lot more people than in the original Phase 1A and supply became an issue.

We closed the online scheduling last Thursday after booking through the end of February.  We didn’t want get too far ahead of supply.

We have administered 32,000 doses across the WellSpan system.

Right now our scheduling is closed. We’re going to analyze our supply and see what the supply looks like.  When we reopen it will likely be in a different format. We’re looking for county mass vaccination sites and partnering with local officials and other health systems. 

We are following Department of Health guidance which is to not save vaccines for second doses. We do not have a reserve in stock.  We reserve enough for appointments.  We don’t want to get to the point where we have too many appointments on the books.”

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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  • Thanks for this information. Lots of questions come up when there’s high demand for something that’s low-availability. It’s good to have answers–even if they are not necessarily the answers we would prefer.

  • How do you determine who should be vaccinated first; e.g. people in mid-eighties with physical conditions making them more susceptible to virus? When signing up for appointment these questions are not asked.