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St. Luke’s releases plans for community COVID-19 vaccinations

St. Luke’s University Health Network released its plans to expand its COVID-19 vaccination efforts to the general population.

The health network said it has been following the state Department of Health directive to concentrate its vaccination efforts on Phase 1a priority groups, which include health care providers and first responders.

As St. Luke’s prepares to move into the next phase of vaccinations it has developed a process to allow individuals to sign up for notifications regarding the vaccine.

As of today, anyone can pre-register for vaccination through the St. Luke’s MyChart portal at www.sluhn.org/vaccine. Those who do not have a MyChart account may create one.

After completing a brief questionnaire, MyChart users will be notified when it is their turn to schedule an appointment for the vaccine, which they will be able to do online.

“We are proceeding in a thoughtful, orderly and safe way,” said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke’s senior vice president. “As per the state, we are opening scheduling to individuals age 65+ and those with medical conditions. To avoid lines and chaos, we are prioritizing individuals at the highest risk starting with individuals 75+ and rapidly working down the list as we have supplies.  We anticipate that with increased supplies in manufacturing and the addition of other vaccines, like Johnson & Johnson’s, that there will be rapid increase in our ability to accommodate the entire population.”

St. Luke’s receives a weekly allotment of vaccine from the state, which distributes to all health systems across Pennsylvania. The exact allotment is subject to change.

So far, St. Luke’s said it has achieved a vaccination rate of 55 people per hour, or nearly one person a minute.

Currently, vaccinations are taking place at 11 of St. Luke’s dozen hospital campuses.

Because the vaccinations are taking place in a hospital setting, patients can be monitored for adverse reactions and provided appropriate treatment if necessary.

Those who are already in a group eligible to receive the vaccine, such as health care providers, nursing home staff and first responders, can call 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) option 7.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at swescoe@bridgetowermedia.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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