Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Governor Wolf today visited the Rite-Aid location in Steelton administering COVID-19 vaccine to Pennsylvanians and providing free drive-thru testing for the virus. Prior to a press conference at the store, he was joined by Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller on a tour led by Rite-Aid Executive Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer Jocelyn Konrad.
“Rite-Aid has been a critical partner in Pennsylvania’s testing and vaccination efforts, and it is a privilege to visit the hard-working staff who are doing so much to help protect their neighbors and communities,” Gov. Wolf said. “These folks are the ones working day in and day out to put shots in arms as quickly as possible, so that the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians will be protected from COVID.”
Rite-Aid, a Pennsylvania-based company, was one of the first pharmacies to offer COVID-19 testing, which it still does at no cost at its drive-thru locations. The company is also part of the program that is helping to vaccinate residents of personal care and assisted living facilities licensed by the Department of Human Services. Rite-Aid is also a member of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership, vaccinating eligible Pennsylvanians at its retail stores, and soon, administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to eligible child care workers not associated with a school as a part of the COVID-19 Task Force special initiative announced Wednesday.
“We’re dedicated to helping communities get healthy and thriving, including our neighbors in Rite Aid’s home state of Pennsylvania – which is why we’ve been proud to work with leaders like Governor Wolf, since the start of the pandemic to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said Rite-Aid’s Konrad. “We opened our first COVID-19 testing site in Pennsylvania nearly a year ago and have since expanded no-charge testing to all drive-through locations.
“We were an early vaccine partner in the state and worked with the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to administer COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities through clinics at licensed DHS facilities and community vaccination sites specifically targeting persons with disabilities. Continued testing and vaccination are essential to ending the pandemic, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the public sector to make testing and vaccination accessible and convenient.”
As a partner with the state and, specifically DHS, Rite-Aid provides critical work, as the pandemic has shown us just how vulnerable residents and staff living and working in DHS-licensed facilities are to COVID-19, especially when they have multiple risk factors.
“We are making incredible progress, and partnerships like what we have established with Rite-Aid are saving lives,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “That makes me hopeful, something that has not always been easy to feel in the last year. There is much still to be done to overcome this pandemic, and we must all continue to do our part by wearing our mask and reducing opportunities for exposure and transmission. I hope we can all hold on to this optimism and continue to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.”
To date, more than 300,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania have received one or more doses of vaccine through programs such as the Federal Pharmacy Partnership and the partnership with Rite-Aid.
“I am proud of the work we are doing to protect vulnerable populations in Pennsylvania, and I am grateful to have strong partners like Rite-Aid as we continue to vaccinate Pennsylvanians as swiftly as possible,” Gov. Wolf said. “Thank you to Rite-Aid and all of your employees for your hard work and commitment to serving your fellow Pennsylvanians.”