St. Luke’s administers 100,000th COVID-19 vaccination
St. Luke’s University Health Network announced that it has administered its 100,000th vaccination.
Currently the network is vaccinating 3,000 people a day at 11 hospital-based sites across the greater Lehigh Valley. This approach makes getting the vaccine safe for anyone who experiences an adverse reaction since each hospital is equipped with a fully functional emergency department.
The St. Luke’s vaccination program, which runs seven days a week, has helped to make Lehigh and Northampton counties among the top four most vaccinated Pennsylvania counties with populations over 100,000. (Northampton County - 19% of the 18+ population; Lehigh County - 18%.)
“The speed of this vaccine getting out is the result of tremendous coordination,” U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said Friday afternoon during a news conference at St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township.
“I’ve been so impressed by the health networks’ ability to mobilize.”
Wild toured the vaccine and talked about the seamless operation. “People look to be relieved and happy to get the vaccine,” she said.
Wild spoke of the importance of outreach to underserved communities and lauded St. Luke’s special vaccine clinic at Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley in South Bethlehem.
Bilingual St. Luke’s nurses and nursing students administered the vaccine at the Hispanic Center on Friday and Saturday.
“We look at this vaccine as our best shot,” St. Luke’s infectious disease specialist Dr. Kara Mascitti said at the news conference. “The vaccine is a shining beacon of hope for us in seeing the potential end to this pandemic.”
Mascitti noted that the rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization across the region have declined significantly in recent weeks - trends she said she views with “cautious optimism.”
Also speaking at the news conference, Colleen Sprissler, MSN, RN, Senior Director of Network Operations, described St. Luke’s innovative efforts to vaccinate underserved communities, including seniors through St. Luke’s new “Shot-Line.”
The “Shot-Line” is an automated scheduling system that allows people to self-schedule their appointments over the phone.
Existing St. Luke’s patients who have yet to be vaccinated and are eligible according to Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines will receive a call on the phone number they listed on their St. Luke’s patient records.
During the call from 866-785-8537, an automated voice recording will ask if they would like to receive the vaccine. If they answer yes, they will undergo a COVID-19 eligibility check, and, if successful, will be given three appointment dates and times at the vaccine site nearest to the location on their record. They can then select the appointment time that is best for them by pushing that option number and be scheduled within 3 to 4 minutes.
Sprissler said people are in and out of the clinic in less than 30 minutes.
The network has vaccinated up to 4,000 a day. Mascitti said the network is only limited by the supply and is working to get more vaccines.