A COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem Township is slated to open this week, according to Bucks County officials.
The vaccination clinic at the mall will set up shop in the former H&M store. It will be in addition to county-overseen clinics operated by AMI Expeditionary Healthcare under a $14 million contract funded by the federal government at the Bucks County Community College campuses in Bristol Township, Newtown Township, and outside of Perkasie.
County officials said the Neshaminy Mall site can administer up to 1,000 vaccinations per day once fully operational with enough vaccine supply.
Dr. David Damsker, the county health director, said in a statement that the four county sites could administer more than 10,000 first and second doses just this week.
As the number of COVID-19 vaccine supplies increase, Bucks County is able to administer more doses.
The county also has plans to open a fifth mass vaccination clinic at St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Quakertown Campus in the coming weeks.
The Bucks County Health Department has more than 258,600 people on their COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. Those who wish to register can do so at the county website.
Since the county began administering doses, about 19,500 shots were put in arms at the community college sites. Damsker estimated about 25,000 total vaccinations have been provided through the county at other sites, including the clinic for health care and emergency medical workers in Middletown Township.
Vaccinations have also been taking place at long-term care centers, hospitals, some medical offices, and pharmacies.
State data showed that 53,019 people in Bucks County have been fully vaccinated, while 48,815 have been partially vaccinated as of Monday.
The numbers are an under count because the state numbers do not include vaccinations through federal programs and the 4,700 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses provided to school staff from across the county, officials said.
Bucks County is estimated to have about 120,000 people who qualify for Phase 1A under the state’s vaccination plan.
The county health department is processing scheduling for those in Phase 1A who pre-registered on or before January 20.
Gov. Tom Wolf said last Friday that all Pennsylvanians eligible for 1A status will be able to schedule an appointment for vaccination by the end of the month.
President Joe Biden said last week that the U.S. will have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every adult in the country by the end of May, according to the BBC.
While the governor and president seem optimistic, elected officials from the county and state level in the counties surrounding Philadelphia have been upset by a Philadelphia Inquirer analysis that found there were less doses of vaccine per capita being delivered than many smaller and more rural counties. Some who received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine had their second dose delayed due to limited supply.
Last week, according to county officials, Bucks County received 20,660 doses of vaccine from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, an increase of 50 percent over the previous week. The county health department received 9,080 of those doses of the vaccine.
Local state representatives Frank Farry, a Republican from Langhorne Borough, and Tina Davis, a Democrat from Bristol Township, have expressed disappointment at the rollout from the state.
A state health department call with local officials raised questions from officials about transparency early last week.
The Southeast Pennsylvania Republican House and Senate delegation has announced efforts by the state health officials to send more vaccine doses to the region.
“We are pleased the state health department listened to our concerns and acted to create new vaccine sites run through our counties and local health departments and to get the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine into the arms of our residents,” the Southeast House and Senate Republicans said in a statement. “But we remain committed to making sure the state follows through and the Southeast gets its fair share of the vaccines.”
The county commissioners said they share “frustrations” with residents waiting to get vaccinated.
Ways residents can help reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Wear a mask properly when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
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