Primary Care Pharmacy Services - Thank You!

Primary Care Pharmacy Services - Thank You!
By Steve Suroviec, President and CEO
Published April 1, 2021
On March 29th, Achieva was able to partner with Primary Care Pharmacy Services to host a vaccination clinic at our West Mifflin location, emphasizing people with disabilities and their caregivers – both unpaid and paid. The clinic was made possible via a collaborative effort with UPMC. The good people at Primary Care Pharmacy Services were able to offer 300 vaccinations to people with a “1A” designation. We learned about the possibility last week, and within days registrations for an appointment were coming in. I’m proud of our Achieva employees for being able to mobilize so quickly, putting us in a strong position to help so many people.

While unpaid caregivers of people with disabilities have been included in the 1A definition of “healthcare personnel” for some time, it has been extremely challenging for many of them to get an appointment. Some vaccine providers weren’t aware they were considered healthcare personnel, while others simply didn’t believe them when they presented as unpaid caregivers. Achieva knows how important unpaid caregivers are to people with disabilities, and that’s why we were so pleased to give them a place to go for their vaccine. 

In addition, a lot of people with disabilities have had a challenging time getting appointments. While those living in licensed facilities were among the first to get vaccinated, people with disabilities receiving home and community-based services in their own homes were put into the government’s 1B category. Even those who qualified under 1A found it hard to get an appointment. Achieva was pleased to make a concerted effort to outreach to people with disabilities and offer those who were eligible (e.g., having an at-risk health condition, being 65 and older, etc.) a chance to get their shot in an accessible, disability-friendly where they knew they were valued. 

Speaking of vaccine priorities, earlier this week Governor Wolf announced that starting April 5th people in 1B will finally be allowed to schedule an appointment for their COVID-19 shot. However, they’ll only be given seven calendar days to do so – and then 1Cs will be eligible, and then a week later everyone will be eligible. A week is not a lot of time for a deserving group of people who have been waiting patiently for others to go ahead of them.

Officials in Harrisburg making vaccine decisions may not value people with disabilities, but I’m proud that Achieva does - and I’m glad we found a partner in Primary Care Pharmacy Services that values them too.