Vaccine mandates, wait times, & staffing shortages: UPMC shares latest


CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — An overturned vaccine mandate, a new COVID-19 variant, and a staffing shortage are all matters hospitals are currently facing.

UPMC, a major healthcare provider in Pennsylvania, gave an update on Thursday, sharing the latest in their operations.

“We will comply with whatever mandate comes to us after both governmental and court involvement,” said Dr. Donald Yealy, chief medical officer for UPMC.

Dr. Yealy’s statement follows Tuesday’s ruling from a federal judge, to block the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers nationwide. Until then, UPMC said they’re continuing to provide education on the effectiveness of vaccines and making them easily available for all.

Inside UPMC’s facilities, hospital beds are filling up.

“There’s virtually no facility in our system that isn’t operating near its high end of capacity,” said Dr. Yealy.

Plus, wait times are increasing.

“Of course there’s longer wait times now, given all of those dynamics,” said Dr. Yealy. “It is not easy. This is a difficult challenge. We are well prepared. We have teams at UPMC Altoona that work each and every day to find those new solutions and invigorate the current solutions to make sure that the stories you hear either never happen again or never come true.” 

A study out of UPMC, shows injecting monoclonal antibodies is as effective as getting the COVID-19 treatment through an IV. This, they say, could help with some staffing shortages.

“More healthcare providers are available to administer these injections as opposed to IV,” said Dr. Erin McCreary, director of antimicrobial stewardship innovation and infectious diseases pharmacist at UPMC. “So by studying this, and finding this result that it’s as good as IV, we’ve now let healthcare systems across the globe know that they can use pharmacists and other resources, rather than just relying on one particular set of healthcare workers with one particular set of skills.” 

Continuing ongoing studies, UPMC said they will be among the first in the nation to test vaccines and monoclonal treatments against Omicron.

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