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COVID-19 In Allegheny County: 'Forgotten' Independent Health Care Workers Set Up Vaccine Distribution This Weekend

ALLISON PARK, Pa. (KDKA) -- The coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out to numerous health care workers across our region in this first phase, but there is a group that says they are the forgotten piece of the plan.

"I had people reaching out saying I'm a dentist, I'm an optometrist, I'm a physical therapist, acupuncturist. These are all the forgotten people in health care who are seeing patients every day and are exposed to the virus on a regular basis," Dr. Kristin Lin said.

Lin owns Family Matters Direct Primary Care. She is one of the hundreds of independent health care providers in our region still waiting on a vaccine.

"We put our heads together and started the process of where do we get the vaccine? How do we get it and how are we going to start distributing it?" said Dr. Natalie Gentile.

Without the support of a major hospital behind them, the Direct Care Physicians of Pittsburgh built their own infrastructure.

"We applied to the Pa. Department of Health and we were able to get 100 doses first. And now we have 300 doses waiting in the fridge and a waiting list 500 long, all health care workers. We are rolling out our vaccination process starting Sunday," Lin said.

The goal is to vaccinate 100 people each week at an Allison Park office. It's a moment, Gentile told KDKA, that is a long time coming.

"I've personally had COVID, my whole family had it and it was something I don't want to go through again. It's not only the illness part of things, but it's the anxiety and fear of what's to come next every day that you are sick," Gentile said.

It won't stop with health care workers. This group plans to keep it going as long as they are able to obtain doses for distribution.

"That's our plan and our goal. We've all committed that this is going to be our life for the foreseeable future and we are going to hunker down and vaccinate as many people that want it," Gentile said.

While the vaccination process will happen inside, the parking lot will serve as an observation space. The patient must be monitored for 15 minutes after receiving the shot for any side effects. The doctors said Hampton EMS will be on hand Sunday to assist.

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