KANE — UPMC Kane will continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in group 1A as outlined by the state this week at the Kane Volunteer Fire Department at 50 Poplar St.

“We have given vaccines to our staff and to other front line healthcare workers,” said Mark Papalia, president, UPMC Kane. “We are following initial Commonwealth guidelines to include our most vulnerable community members who are 65 and older. UPMC’s thoughtful approach prioritizes those in our communities who are most at risk of the life-threatening effects of COVID-19, allowing our limited vaccine supply to make the biggest impact in saving lives.”

UPMC’s method includes proactively contacting people at highest risk, initially prioritizing vaccine appointment by age because older age is the biggest predictor of death from COVID-19.

“This week, we are calling people who meet this criteria starting with those age 90 and older,” said Papalia. “Ours is not a system that primarily serves tech-savvy consumers with the time to master multiple and often confusing web sites. UPMC’s approach guarantees that each person who makes an appointment with us will receive a vaccine as scheduled.”

When vaccine supply is available, UPMC will begin an expanded community roll-out with new avenues for community members to submit their interest to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at UPMC community vaccination clinics. A public-facing website — Vaccine.UPMC.com — has been established for people to sign up to receive the vaccine. If guidance for the signup process is needed, a phone number is listed on the site and will be answered by contact center staff. The contact center team is answering seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

After signing up on the online form, people will be contacted by phone, text, and email via the Certify Care system to help them schedule and start preparing for their vaccine appointment. For anyone who is concerned the calls or messages may not be legitimate, calls coming from the Certify Care system are, in fact, from UPMC.

UPMC maintains its promise that a vaccine scheduled will be administered as scheduled. UPMC will always only schedule appointments when adequate vaccine supply is on hand. Individuals will be scheduled based on Phase 1A eligibility, when and where vaccine supply is available.

“We applaud the public enthusiasm to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and we appreciate the patience of everyone waiting to receive their vaccinations. UPMC wants to partner with our public health colleagues to fairly and efficiently vaccinate as many people as possible in all of the communities we serve,” said Papalia.

“If people can get vaccinated more quickly through a provider that is not UPMC, we encourage them to do so and to stay with that provider for their second dose. The more people who can be vaccinated, the better we can protect our communities,” said Papalia. “As soon as we have more detailed information to share with the public, we will do so. In the meantime, we urge people to continue protecting themselves by wearing masks, practicing social distancing and hand washing. These measures work and will continue to keep us all safe.”

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