Bucks to Offer COVID-19 Vaccinations

Photo+Courtesy+of+Unsplash

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Lucas Darling

Bucks County Commissioners have approved a $14 million contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to provide vaccinations at all three Bucks campuses.

It is currently unknown when the campuses will be available to administer vaccines, however, as the Bucks County Health Department has only received less than 10 percent of all vaccinations sent by the state. The Commissioners have urged for patience through the process.

“None of us like this because it sounds like we’re kicking the can down the lane or passing the buck, but we really don’t control any of this, this is the worst pandemic in a hundred years, and the largest vaccination program in human history. Period,” said Commissioner Vice Chair Bob Harvie.

“We would be vaccinating everybody right now; we are ready to go. We have the staff. We have AMI. The issue is we do not have the vaccine,” said Commissioner Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia.

An estimated 28,000 people in Bucks County have received partial vaccinations, with about only 9,000 people receiving a full dose.

Audrey Kenny, Interim Director of Emergency Services, believes that once they are given an ample supply of the vaccine, they will be able to vaccinate up to 500 people a day, five days a week at the campus sites, with an additional 300 people a day through mobile vaccination teams.

The county anticipates receiving a larger number of vaccines in the next shipment from the state, but the number of vaccines the state receives is dependent on the federal government.

Pre-registration for vaccination is available now through the Bucks County COVID-19 Vaccine Information Portal, and numbers for pre-registration are approaching 200,000 people.

The county is confident that as soon as the state provides more vaccine doses, it will be ready to administer as quickly as they can.

“We are just waiting on the state, and the state is waiting on the federal government, as soon as that happens, whether that’s this week, next week, two weeks from now, we’re ready to go. And we’re going to move as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo.

The Upper Bucks Campus is the only campus still administering COVID-19 tests. Testing is done from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Results will be returned within 48-72 hours.

A prescription is not needed to get a test done, but the college recommends that one tracks the symptoms they have before getting tested, as only 350 tests can be administered per day. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever, fatigue, and less common symptoms include loss of taste or smell, boy aches, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, diarrhea or skin rash.

The Upper Bucks Campus is located at 1 Hillendale Road, Perkasie, PA, also at the entrance of Blooming Glen Road.

The county’s seven-day average of new infections dropped to 285 as of Feb. 2. The total infection rate in Bucks County is 40,698 positive test results, with 1,042 total deaths.

State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said PA testing has passed the national average, “We want Pennsylvanians to know that if they need a test, one is available, as COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities, we need to take precautions to keep ourselves safe by monitoring ourselves for COVID-19 symptoms, finding a test site near us if we have symptoms, and staying home if we are sick.”