WEST CHESTER — Chester County recently added people 65 and over to the list of those eligible for COVID vaccinations, but it did so as the county experiences vaccine shortages.
There have been no additional vaccines brought to the county since Chester County added those 65 and older to the eligibility list.
"We have been told to expect vaccine shortages," said Chester County spokesperson Becky Brain.
The decision to add those 65 and over, and some people with medical conditions, has added about 90,000 people in Chester County eligible for the vaccine. The Chester County Health Department, on average, has received 2,000 doses per week, and in total, the county has been averaging receipt of 6,000 doses of the vaccine each week, divided among all providers. Each vaccine requires two doses.
Chester County officials this week requested 5,000 doses and only received 2,500. The shortage of vaccine is not an issue exclusive to Chester County, Brain said. All other regions within Pennsylvania — and the nation — are affected by the lack of vaccine supply.
The Health Department opens appointments and locations based on the availability of vaccine to administer. The Chester County Health Department will be launching a system where those who work or live in Chester County can register their interest in receiving the vaccine, regardless of what phase they may be in. Regular communication will go out to all who register, with updates on progress, vaccine and appointment availability.
Chester County residents are encouraged to monitor the Pennsylvania Vaccine Provider Map available at https://bit.ly/3p5FkqF for other possible locations of vaccine providers in the county.
To help people determine when they are eligible for vaccination, and how to get vaccinated, the state has developed a ‘vaccine eligibility quiz’ now online at https://www.pa.gov/guides/get-vaccinated.
So far, the Chester County Health Department has administered 9,304 partial vaccinations, and 1,367 vaccinations to residents in Chester County. In Delaware County, 11,420 partial vaccinations and 1,946 full vaccinations have been administered.
The positive case count in Chester County has declined slightly in the past four weeks, from 1,480 to 1,338. In Delaware County, it also dropped slightly, from 1,729 four weeks ago to 1,427, according to the Chester County Health Department. The positivity rate has dropped slightly over the past several weeks in both counties. It it currently at just over 10 percent in both Chester and Delaware counties.
Over the past week, the most common way to catch coronavirus in Chester and Delaware counties is having come in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or those who work or visit a school or healthcare setting.
By a large margin, the 20 to 29 age bracket continues to top the coronavirus positivity rate in Chester County.
To date, 585 people have died of coronavirus in Chester County since the pandemic began, and five have died so far this year. Nearly 24,000 people have tested positive, with a recovery rate of 76.4 percent. Current coronavirus hot spots in Chester County: Kennett Square, 9.01 positivity rate, Avondale, 7.97, London Grove, 6.92, Oxford, 6.91, West Grove, 6.85, Coatesville, 6.22, Atglen, 6.17, and Penn Township, 6.04. Modena has the county's lowest positivity rate, a 1.43.