To highlight the continuing fight against COVID-19, UPMC leaders today joined Dr. Denise Johnson, Pennsylvania Department of Health acting physician general, and Dr. Debra Bogen, Allegheny County Health Department director, on a tour of UPMC Outpatient Center South Side.
Dr. Richard Wadas, executive vice chair of community emergency medicine, led Johnson and Bogen, as well as local media representatives, through the facility’s COVID-19 testing center and the monoclonal antibody infusion center before walking through the vaccination clinic with Dr. Alfred L’Altrelli, administrative director of pharmacy at UPMC Presbyterian.
Dr. Donald M. Yealy, UPMC’s chief medical officer, emphasized the importance of the outpatient center’s three-fold approach of testing, vaccinations and treatment to combat COVID-19. The clinic provides language translation services, as well as sensory rooms to accommodate patients with autism or other special needs so that the vaccination experience is a pleasant one for all.
“We’re making tremendous progress in our battle against COVID-19,” said Dr. Erin McCreary, UPMC clinical pharmacist. “It is amazing that we have multiple, highly effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19, as well as monoclonal antibody treatments, which have a strong likelihood of preventing newly infected people from becoming very sick.”
The facility’s vaccination clinic, which was one of the first COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the Commonwealth, saw heavy patient demand throughout the winter and spring vaccination surge and continues to be available for those who decide to receive the shot.
“Looking back at our vaccination efforts, one constant was that as needs changed, so did we,” said Bogen, describing the shift from focusing on the senior population, to mass vaccination clinics, to smaller, targeted outreach. “Overall, we, meaning all those who helped vaccination efforts here, have done well in Allegheny County.”
Johnson highlighted how important it has been to provide Pennsylvanians with solid information regarding vaccines and treatments, as well as convenient accessibility.
“The Department of Health prioritizes that all Pennsylvanians over the age of 12 have access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Johnson. “This entails a lot of the measures that are happening here, such as transportation and language services. Together, we are making an impact and have the power to end COVID-19 by being vaccinated and helping others to make that decision, as well.”