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COVID-19 In Allegheny County: Health Department Frustrated With Lack Of Vaccine Registration System At State Level

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The coronavirus vaccine is something state and local leaders say they are in desperate need of, but the Allegheny County Health Department says there just are not enough supplies to go around.

Too little supply in the face of overwhelming demand. Healthcare systems, pharmacies and even the Allegheny County Health Department's mass clinic in Monroeville are barely making a dent in the requests of citizens wanting to be vaccinated.

"Our biggest challenge here at the county Health Department is supply," said ACHD Director Dr. Debra Boden. "We have too few vaccines for so many who want it."

But even applying for vaccinations is at best confusing. On Wednesday, Bogen acknowledged the county's frustration with the lack of a registration system at the state level.

"I know there is a lot of frustration out there. Our clinics are filling up fast, the registration system set up by the state is confusing and sometimes it doesn't work. You're wondering when you can get a vaccine and how you will get a vaccine?" she said.

On Thursday, Asti Pharmacy in Mt. Lebanon is holding a vaccination clinic for 250 people. But all those slots are already spoken for, and pharmacist Chris Antypas says he has as a waitlist with 14,000 applicants and is getting 1,000 new requests every day.

"There are other states that are having success utilizing a centralized database. They qualify and then they direct traffic to where the vaccine is," he said.

Those other states offer one-stop shopping with a centralized website where you can register once and be scheduled at the next nearby site as supplies become available. Here in Pennsylvania, people are negotiating a patchwork system, filling out multiple applications on pharmacy and healthcare system websites in hopes of getting the vaccine.

RELATED STORY: Using Interactive Map To Find Available Vaccines Becoming Troublesome For Pennsylvanians

"Our state has a lot of improving to do for us to really get our hands on this," Antypas said.

Governor Tom Wolf vowed the state would do better and would at least give strong consideration to establishing a statewide registration system.

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