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Bucks County Announces Mass Vaccination Plan

February 3, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

When six government-funded mass clinics open across Bucks County, the county will have the capacity to inoculate up to 15,000 people per week under its new COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The Bucks County Commissioners on Wednesday approved a $14 million contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, LLC, to operate the sites through the end of April, beginning with the three Bucks County Community College locations where AMI operated COVID mass testing clinics in January.

Shot availability and clinic kickoff dates remain uncertain, however, as low vaccine supply continues to hinder rollout plans.

“We would be vaccinating everybody right now,” said Commissioners’ Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “We are ready to go. We have the staff. We have AMI. The issue is we do not have the vaccine.”

Through last week, the county health department had received fewer than 6,000 doses of COVID vaccine, accounting for less than 10 percent of the total doses sent by the state government to hospitals and providers in Bucks County. The state receives vaccines from the federal government.

Commissioners’ Vice Chair Bob Harvie urged continued patience as supply chain issues are resolved.

“None of us like this because it sounds like we’re kicking the can down the lane or passing the buck, but we really don’t control any of this,” Harvie said. “This is the worst pandemic in a hundred years, and the largest vaccination program in human history. Period.”

The county health department has been administering its vaccine doses at an appointment-only clinic for healthcare workers. Health department staff at the clinic began administering second doses this week, winding down work at the targeted site ahead of broader vaccination efforts.

A total of 27,937 people in Bucks County have received partial vaccinations, the sixth-highest county total in the state, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Another 8,996 people have received full vaccinations, fifth-most among Pennsylvania counties.

Interim Director of Emergency Services Audrey Kenny said her staff partnered with the county health department over the last few weeks to identify and secure the vaccination sites, all of which will be identified when their activation dates draw nearer. Kenny said she anticipates being able to vaccinate 500 people per day at each site five days per week, given ample vaccine supply. 

In addition to the stationary sites, the county also plans to deploy two mobile vaccination teams. Those teams will be ready to administer up to 150 doses of vaccine per day.

Clinic operation will depend on vaccine availability. The county anticipates receiving greater quantities of vaccine from the state in future shipments.

“We are just waiting on the state, and the state is waiting on the federal government,” said Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo. “As soon as that happens, whether that’s this week, next week, two weeks from now, we’re ready to go. And we’re going to move as quickly as possible.”

Pre-registration to receive a vaccine is available through the Bucks County COVID-19 Vaccine Information portal on the county website. Pre-registration numbers as of Wednesday were fast approaching 200,000.

COVID and vaccine related questions should be directed to the county’s COVID-19 helpline at 1-800-383-0371.

Please note that the county’s pre-registration form is only for county-run vaccination clinics and not any other providers.

Appointments for vaccination will be made in accordance with the state’s vaccination priority schedule.

As AMI staff prepare the community college locations to serve as vaccination clinics, the county will continue to offer free COVID-19 testing at least through Sunday at the college’s Upper Bucks campus at 1 Hillendale Road, Perkasie.

Testing is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and results are typically returned within 48 to 72 hours.

The county’s seven-day average of new infections dropped to 285 on Tuesday as 176 new COVID infections were reported here. The pandemic total is 40,698 positive test results.

Four more Bucks County COVID deaths were recorded by the state on Tuesday, raising the pandemic total to 1,042. The county’s hospitals reported 111 COVID patients, 28 in intensive care and 13 of those on ventilators. County hospitals have 25 percent of their adult ICU beds and 24 percent of their adult medical surgical beds available.

Media Contact: James O'Malley, 215-348-6414, jtomalley@buckscounty.org