Through WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital, a Uniontown clinic had successfully vaccinated 8,000 people as of Thursday evening, accounting for nearly half of Fayette County’s total first doses of the vaccine since Feb. 8.
Next week, the clinic will begin to administer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Josh Krysak, director of community relations at Uniontown Hospital, said the clinic is making excellent progress and continually improving operations as time goes on. He said they are eager to get people their second doses, so they have the full effect of the vaccination.
“We are putting in a lot of man hours and a lot of time to vaccinate 1,000 people a day, which is what we are up to now, and we’re doing that regularly,” he said. “In the beginning, we had four to six vaccinators. We now have as many as 16 vaccinators running at one time, and that’s how we are able to move through a thousand people in an eight-hour shift.”
In addition to hospital staff, Krysak said they have up to 50 volunteers assisting at the clinic on any given day, including staff from local businesses.
Krysak said the clinic’s biggest challenge surrounds procuring the number of vaccines in order to administer the amount they plan to on any given day.
“The way we have to go about [getting the vaccines] is extremely difficult,” he said. “If we should not receive the vaccine at some point, that would be 2,000 people we would have to call and cancel and then 2,000 people we’d have to call again and reschedule. We never have guarantees week to week. It’s an antiquated system, and we continue to be worried on a week-to-week basis that we’re not going to get our allotment because of delays or because the state doesn’t have enough.”
Krysak said he believes the clinic has the ability and manpower to administer even more than their current vaccine allotment, as the clinic’s operations continue to improve.
One way Krysak said the clinic improved their operations is by adding a registration table at the clinic, so that people who are unable to access the registration form online can come to the clinic and a volunteer will help register them.
Krysak said they have had people come to get the vaccine who are worried about reacting to the shot, but he said very few people have had any initial reaction to the vaccine at the clinic, and those who did had only minor reactions, such as short-lived dizziness or sweating.
“We are able to talk through fears with people and assuage their concerns, and once they get in and see the process and realize that everyone around them is doing the same thing, it goes pretty smoothly,” he said. “The benefits far outweigh the potential minor side effects.”
Upcoming, Krysak said the hospital is planning to add a call center in the clinic space with between 12 and 16 phones to make scheduling people for clinics easier. He said they are looking to use the call center not only for people to register for the Uniontown clinic, but other clinics in the county as well.
To sign up for the county’s vaccine registry, visit fayettecountypa.org and click on the “individual registration” link under the yellow “COVID-19” tab.