WellSpan Health is transitioning COVID-19 vaccines from community sites to physician practices, as demand for the vaccine declines and patients are returning to in-person care.
Community vaccination sites are closing or have closed in all WellSpan communities, including Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. The vaccine is now available at about a dozen WellSpan primary medicine practices across the WellSpan service area, with the number scheduled to increase to about 60 practices by early August.
WellSpan is making the change for a variety of reasons, as it looks to best serve patients and set up a system to offer the vaccine into the future.
Early in the year, soon after the COVID-19 vaccine became available, WellSpan moved quickly to open community vaccination clinics, in partnership with other health care providers and county governments, so that anyone who wanted the vaccine could readily access it, following federal and state guidelines.
These sites were designed to serve the large number of people who initially used them and were centrally located in the various counties and so were not convenient for some, who would have had to drive longer distances to access them. The process of gradually phasing out the sites is being done after discussions with and in cooperation with our county and community partners.
The COVID-19 vaccine now will be available at WellSpan primary medicine practices that are more widely located and more convenient to access for community members. Vaccine seekers do not have to be patients of WellSpan to receive a shot at these primary medicine practices.
“We want to set up a sustainable vaccination system,” said Keith Noll, WellSpan senior vice president and chief administrative officer. “We do not see COVID-19 going away. Using our practices and pharmacies as the locations to receive vaccinations is what we do with every other medication. This is our normal process.”
For existing patients, there is an additional benefit.
“By moving the COVID-19 vaccine to medical practices, patients will have an opportunity to have a conversation directly with their provider about the benefits and risk of the vaccine,” Noll said. “We know that some of our patients would like the ability to have this discussion with their trusted medical provider, before they get vaccinated.”
As it makes this transition, WellSpan also is continuing to bring the COVID-19 vaccine into communities with mobile teams that are focusing on at-risk neighborhoods, homebound patients and other groups that may have vaccine hesitancy.
People can make an appointment to get the vaccine, either or by going online or calling the COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-851-3641. Walk-in hours also are available at locations in Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. For more information or to schedule a vaccine, go here.
Here are some details of the transition at this time, with more practices being added throughout the next few weeks:
- York County: The last day for patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the York County site, at the Crossroads Shopping Center, will be Saturday, Aug. 7. COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at the following practices: WellSpan Family Medicine – Roosevelt Ave.; WellSpan Family Medicine – Stony Brook; WellSpan Family Medicine – Spring Grove; and WellSpan Family Medicine – Stonebridge.
- Adams County: The community vaccination site, at the Department of Emergency Services near Gettysburg, closed at the end of June. COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at WellSpan Family Medicine – East Berlin. Patients who cannot travel to that practice will be offered other local options.
- Franklin County: The community vaccination site, at the Chambersburg Mall, closed earlier in July. COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at all WellSpan primary medicine practices in Franklin County.
- Lancaster County: The community vaccination site, at the former Bon-Ton department store in Park City Center, closed in late June. COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at WellSpan Family & Pediatric Medicine – Rothsville.
- Lebanon County: The community vaccination site, at the former Kmart store on Quentin Road, closed in May. COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at WellSpan Family Medicine – Norman Drive.