Vaccine clinic

Washington County Health Systems is opening a vaccine clinic in Peters Township for eligible people who make prior appointments.

Washington Health Systems has the green light to open a COVID-19 vaccination site in Peters Township.

On Monday, township council approved a memorandum of understanding between the municipality and the health system to use a portion of the gymnasium at the Community Recreation Center, starting Feb. 22.

According to the agreement, Washington Health System will provide all staffing and equipment to run the clinic, and will be responsible for “malpractice liability insurance that covers the services that the staff will provide.”

“The relationship between the parties to this agreement to each other is that of independent contractors,” the memorandum further states. “The relationship of the parties of this contract to each other shall not be construed to constitute a partnership, joint venture or any other relationship.”

Township manager Paul Lauer elaborated for the benefit of local residents.

“We are simply landlords. We don’t control who gets a vaccine. We haven’t gotten a lot, but we’ve gotten a few calls into the building asking to be able to register,” he said about requests fielded by municipal staff members, “and that’s not our role.”

According to the Washington Health System website, individuals who are eligible to make appointments for vaccinations must live in Washington or Greene counties, or be an established patient of the health system’s outpatient practice. At this point, categorization in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Phase 1A also is required.

The initial phase includes people ages 65 or older, plus those ages 16 to 64 who have pre-existing conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, Down Syndrome, diabetes and obesity.

“Please remember to be patient through this process,” the website states. “We have a team reviewing all requests to confirm eligibility, and therefore it could take up to several days to receive an initial confirmation reply.”

Washington Health System has a vaccine clinic in operation at Washington Hospital, and scheduled to open are locations at WHS Greene in Waynesburg Feb. 15 and Washington Crown Center, Feb. 18.

The Peters Township Community Center served as a vaccination site Jan. 24, with staff members from Hilltop Pharmacy in Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood inoculating 1,000 Phase 1A-qualifying individuals. Lauer told council another event with Hilltop, the owner of which lives in Peters, could take place at some point.

“As best I can tell, we are the only municipality that has partnered with a health system for the purposes of trying to facilitate their residents receiving vaccines,” Lauer said.

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Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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