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State makes strides with vaccine

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 Warren General Hospital and Warren State Hospital, Gaughn’s Drug Store in Warren and the Tidioute Health Center have agreements to be involved in vaccine distribution.

For now, Gaughn’s and Tidioute Health are indicated with red push pins — they have agreements, but not vaccine. County officials believe there will eventually be several more locations in the county. In addition to the four in Warren County, there are pins showing vaccine partners in Corry, Kane, and Titusville.

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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