Responding to dip in demand, Lancaster’s mass vaccination site is taking walk-ins
"We’re just trying to make it incredibly easy now to get vaccinated."
(Lancaster) — People who want to get vaccinated do not need an appointment to get their first dose at Park City Center shopping mall.
The Community Vaccination Center is taking walk-ins seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The site expanded its walk-in hours after seeing success with limited walk-in availability, said site director Dr. Michael Ripchinski.
The center is adapting to a recent decrease in the number of people signing up for appointments, Ripchinski said.
The site has administered more than 120,000 vaccines since it opened March 10, he noted. For about a month, as many as 6,000 people got vaccinated each day.
Now that the initial wave of people eager for vaccines has crested, the site is doing everything it can to draw in more people.
“We’re just trying to make it incredibly easy now to get vaccinated,” he said.
In his experience, some people will get the vaccine if it is offered to them. He noted that workers recently walked through Park City Center asking people if they wanted vaccines that might otherwise go to waste. More than 20 people got their first doses that night.
“People just needed that extra little push of it’s here, it’s ready, I don’t have to wait, I don’t have to schedule an appointment, and just come on over,” Ripchinski said. Those who do prefer to schedule an appointment can visit the center’s website.
COVID-19 cases remain high in the commonwealth . An average of 4,240 people tested positive each day over the past seven days, state data show. That’s higher than the April 2020 first wave, and is comparable to case rates seen in November 2020.
Hospitalizations are also up compared to early March. Ripchinski noted that the hospital where he works when not running the center, Penn Medicine Lancaster General, had 77 people sick with the virus Thursday morning.
People outside of Lancaster County are welcome to walk-in or book an appointment as well. Additionally, vaccination clinics are operating in York, Lebanon, Dauphin and Cumberland counties. An updated list of vaccine providers is available on the Pa. Department of Health website.
Brett Sholtis is a health reporter for WITF/Transforming Health. Sholtis is the 2021-2022 Reveal Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grantee for Mental Health Investigative Journalism with the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. His award-winning work on problem areas in mental health policy and policing helped to get a woman moved from a county jail to a psychiatric facility. Sholtis is a University of Pittsburgh graduate and a Pennsylvania Army National Guard Kosovo campaign veteran.