WMCHC Receives Largest Weekly Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine
(Honesdale, March 15, 2021)…Officials for Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC) confirmed today that they have received their highest weekly allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to date, 2000 doses of Moderna, from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH) received 500 doses. WMCHC immediately announced two clinics this week in Pike County and in Honesdale to distribute the vaccines.
The supply is a direct response to repeated requests for more COVID-19 vaccines for their underserved areas by WMCHC, Wayne Memorial Hospital, the Pike County commissioners and State Senator Lisa Baker. DOH Executive Deputy Secretary Keara Klinepeter, MSHCPM, confirmed last week in writing to the Commissioners that additional vaccines would be forwarded to WMCHC and WMH.
Up until now, both Wayne and Pike counties, especially Pike, have ranked low in the state for percentage of vaccines received and administered.
“We are grateful that the Department of Health has heard our pleas and has agreed to supply us with these new additional shipments of vaccine,” said Frederick Jackson, WMCHC executive director. “To date, there has been a clear historical disparity between rural counties and urban areas. The state’s own data shows our areas are vaccinated 30% to 50% less than their urban and suburban counterparts.”
While Pike does not have a hospital of its own, Senator Baker and the Commissioners emphasized in discussions with the Department of Health last month that Wayne Memorial was a perfectly-capable healthcare delivery network for Pike.
“This progress marks a significant turning point in the equitable distribution of the vaccine in our area, and we are grateful for the community partnerships, especially those with Wayne Memorial and Senator Baker, that have helped to shift the tide,” said Chairman Matthew Osterberg on behalf of the Pike County Commissioners. “We will continue to work toward getting the vaccine to all eligible local residents who want to receive it. We remain ready and willing to support mass vaccination clinics and other such efforts to achieve this goal.”
While headquartered in Honesdale in Wayne County, Jackson pointed out that Wayne Memorial Health System serves more than just Wayne and Pike Counties “When we request vaccine, it is for Wayne, Pike, Southern Susquehanna (Forest City), and the Carbondale region of Lackawanna County,” he said, “our requests should not be looked at only through the lens of Wayne County demographics.”
Jackson added that, in addition to the Pike County initiatives, Pennsylvania State Representative Jonathan Fritz, as well as Senator Baker, have also been working with WMCHC to support the needs of the Forest City Region. On Saturday the 13th , more than 500 vaccines were distributed at the Community Health Centers’ Forest City Site.
All in need of a vaccine are asked to sign up via the hospital/WMCHC website at COVID Vaccine Registration – Wayne Memorial Hospital (wmh.org).
Photo: People wait in line for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers’ site at the Stourbridge Professional Complex, Honesdale on February 5th.