Philly-area vaccine clinic for seniors shows what works, and what doesn't, with Pa. vaccine rollout

Kayly Sie, cofounder and president of Wellness Pharmacy, preparing COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Kayly Sie, cofounder and president of Wellness Pharmacy, preparing COVID-19 vaccine doses. Photo credit Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Organizers of a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for 500 seniors in Montgomery Township say it shows the value of using pharmacies and health care providers for vaccine distribution. But everyone involved says a centralized registration system would make things easier.

The clinic was held in the clubhouse of Neshaminy Falls 55+ retirement community.

“I got my shot, I’m happy as a clam,” said Mary Gallagher, who lives in the community.

She had part of her lung removed and knew if she got the virus, she would have serious complications. But, she said, despite calling, emailing and searching online, she couldn’t even get on a waiting list.

“I was kinda lost, I kept going through the same routine, the public health office, things like that, and I wasn’t getting any updated information,” she said.

Horsham-based Wellness Pharmacy president Kayly Sie said she reached out to state Rep. Todd Stephens’ office because she saw the older population that was supposed to be a priority was struggling to find shots. She said it was heartbreaking to see seniors struggling to find a place to get vaccinated.

“We had multiple seniors drive around to our location and wanted to wait at our location because they had no idea how to get on to the online booking,” she recalled.

The pharmacy worked with  Stephens’ office to schedule and make sure people got their paperwork in order.

A centralized or regionalized booking system would be extremely helpful for providers, she said.

Stephens agrees with a centralized system and said the region simply needs more vaccine, but as they target older populations, the pharmacy model is proving to be extremely helpful.

“Who again can help that population that might not be able to upload their drivers’ license photo or digitally fill out a form and email it,” Stephens added.

The Wolf administration has gone back and forth on a centralized list, saying they’re looking at all options that could help the process.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio