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Hospitals Across U.S. Advocate for Coordinated Vaccine Response

January 08, 2021

In Pennsylvania and across the country, hospitals continue to play a central role in the battle against COVID-19, providing life-saving care for critically ill patients while administering the COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers and non-hospital staff in the first priority group for vaccination.

On Thursday, January 7, the American Hospital Association (AHA) published a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) emphasizing the need to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process and remove any barriers that could delay this critical mission.

“Effective vaccines, if administered properly to enough Americans, can tame this awful virus and halt the devastating impact it has had on the country,” the AHA said in its letter to HHS Administrator Alex Azar. “But, hope alone will not be the remedy.”

In its letter, the AHA identified several key priority areas to ensure a successful vaccine rollout, including:

  • Establishing a process to coordinate national efforts among all the states, jurisdictions, and the various stakeholders involved in the distribution of the vaccine
  • Sharing clear goals and expectations for everyone involved in the process
  • Tracking vaccination and sharing data against expectations to ensure everyone understands the progress of the rollout, as well as the potential areas for delays
  • Developing a coordinated communication plan for the complex network of organizations that will be administering the vaccine
  • Providing resolution when questions arise and sharing effective approaches and lessons learned

HAP joins the AHA in its call for coordination, support, and communication at all levels to ensure the rapid distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, about 200,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania, but the work is only just beginning.

To reach herd immunity, Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems are dedicated to collaborating with the Department of Health (DOH) and the growing network of government agencies, community providers, pharmacies, physician practices, and other groups involved in the rollout of the vaccine to the general public. DOH today announced the release of the fourth version of its COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan, which updates the vaccine rollout strategy to align with new federal guidance.

HAP will continue to advocate for hospitals and health systems as they serve in this critical public health role. During the coming months, a coordinated effort will help ensure millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are administered across the state, and allow us to reach the levels of herd immunity needed to end the pandemic once and for all.

Until the vaccine is available to the public, it is important for all Pennsylvanians to keep up their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. This week, HAP released a public service announcement, which features clinical leaders from Pennsylvania hospitals, encouraging everyone continue to wear masks, frequently wash their hands, keep distance from people outside their households, stay home if they are sick, and call their medical providers if they have questions.

For more information, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s senior vice president, strategic integration.