Geisinger Data Shows COVID-19 Vaccine Proving Effective

With more than a quarter million doses administered, and eligibility expanded to everyone 16 and older, Geisinger’s data indicates the COVID-19 vaccine is proving effective among those vaccinated in earlier phases. To date, Geisinger has administered 266,000 vaccine doses.

Based on Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines in December 2020, Geisinger employees were among the first groups to be vaccinated. As a result, the weekly average of new positive COVID-19 tests among employees has remained in the single digits since early February, down from the mid-30s in early December. Since employee vaccinations began in mid-December, we saw positive testing rates among employees plummet through January and stay consistently low as more employees received the vaccine (see figure 1).

The trended COVID-19 vaccinations of Geisinger employees versus the seven-day average of COVID-19 positive employee tests.

Similarly, the average number of COVID-19 admissions for those age 65 and older has also decreased significantly as vaccines have been rolled out to that age group starting in mid- January.

“The science — and our data — clearly demonstrates these vaccines are proving effective in helping prevent illness, hospitalizations and death,” said Jaewon Ryu, JD, MD, Geisinger president and chief executive officer. “If we are looking to put this pandemic behind us and return to a sense of normalcy, the vaccine is a great way to get there.”

While the vaccine is proving effective for many who have received it, a worrying trend is emerging across Geisinger’s communities. For the second week in a row, the majority of those being hospitalized for COVID-19 are younger than 65, with a growing number between age 25 and 49.

“What we don’t want is this increase of hospital admissions among younger people to accelerate. The vaccine can keep that from happening,” Ryu said. “Masking, social distancing and other mitigation efforts have helped us as well so far, but the best way we can win this fight is with the vaccine. It will help us get out in front of this virus and its potential mutations that threaten our ability to get our communities back to normal.”

Vaccine appointments remain available at Geisinger’s four vaccine centers in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. You can self-schedule a vaccine appointment through myGeisinger or by calling 570-284-3657. It still remains critical for everyone – vaccinated or not – to keep wearing a mask, physical distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene to stop the virus’ spread. For the latest information on the COVID vaccine, visit

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Tomorrow, April 20

Lackawanna County is holding a COVID-19 vaccine clinic tomorrow, April 20, at Montage Mountain from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sign up below.

UPDATE as of 8:00 p.m. 4/19/21 –
No appointment necessary. Clinic is first come, first served.

Process information:

  • After completing this form, you will be added to our waiting list.
    • Please note, select “Medicap Olyphant” as the pharmacy location on the form, even though this clinic will be at Montage Mountain. Directions and more information will be provided upon confirmation.
  • The system will automatically send invitations (via text) to the phone number provided.
  • You can then select an appointment time that works best for you.
  • A phone that can receive texts, as well as internet service, will be required to confirm an appointment.
  • For HIPAA compliance, patients will need to enter the birth date provided on the form to access the scheduling.

You may also call 211 to sign up via the phone.

Geisinger Issues Alert About Scammers Posing as Vaccine Schedulers

Geisinger is alerting patients to recent reports of scammers trying to steal personal data by posing as COVID vaccine schedulers.

The suspected fraudulent activity involves automated calls and/or text messages or live callers reaching out to Geisinger patients under the guise of scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine. The scammers are asking patients for their name, date of birth and Social Security number in order to schedule a vaccine appointment.

The community and patients should be aware that Geisinger will never ask for a Social Security number, and if someone asks for it, it is a scam. Anyone receiving such a call should hang up or not respond.

For more information about this scam and to learn about ways to protect your personal information, visit The webpage provides information about the latest security alerts from Geisinger. This includes more information about phone spoofing scams, ways to help protect yourself against becoming a scam victim, and how to contact Geisinger if you have an information security concern related to Geisinger.

As a reminder, never give out personal information, such as your Social Security number or medical record number, over the telephone — and do not rely on caller ID to be accurate. If you receive a call that is unexpected, suspicious or about which you have any doubts, you should hang up and call Geisinger directly at 800-275-6401 or check your myGeisinger account for messages.

Commissioners Announce Lackawanna County COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Grant Program

Lackawanna County Commissioners approved $2,374,844 million in funding to provide grants to eligible hospitality and accommodation businesses through the Lackawanna County COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Grant Program. 

The program will provide grants up to $25,000 to eligible businesses in Lackawanna County.

“The hospitality industry has been hit very hard by the pandemic. The majority of our well-established area restaurants and small eateries were reduced to take-out or capacity restrictions, while our hotels saw a huge drop-off in guest room bookings.  We are very pleased to provide some assistance again in conjunction with our partner, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.  Together, we will utilize our resources to assist these sectors to get on the road to economic recovery,” the Board of Commissioners stated.  

In February, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania earmarked $145 million to establish the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Grant Program. The funding was distributed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to Lackawanna County.

The County will partner with MetroAction, the small business affiliate of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, to administer the program and provide technical assistance to grant applicants and awardees. 

Information on the grant program is available at Businesses are encouraged to read program guidelines and gather required program documents. Businesses will be able to submit a grant application for a two-week time frame or until program funding is exhausted.

The grant application will open on March 8.

COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Response Program

Skills in Scranton, the workforce development affiliate of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and in partnership with the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging, has launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Response Program to match college students and recent graduates with Lackawanna County pharmacies and medical practices for temporary, non-clinical work related to COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Our organization is honored to support such a timely and historic program. The work that comes from this program not only provides young college students and professionals with real world experience, but will also make a significant impact on many lives in the Lackawanna County community,” said Bob Durkin, president of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

Whether you’re looking for supplemental employment or just want to make a difference, we encourage those who qualify to join the fight against COVID-19. The positions involve COVID-19 data administration functions as well as customer service support.

Eligible employees must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of Lackawanna County and currently enrolled in a college or university or 2020 college or university graduate
  • Be a student currently enrolled in a Lackawanna County college or university and residing in Lackawanna County
  • Be a student currently enrolled at a Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce member college or university and living in Lackawanna County

The positions are available for immediate hire and will stay open on a rolling basis. Those interested in applying can visit

For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Response Program contact Amy Luyster at or 570-342-7711.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Improving, but Remain High Despite Vaccine Rollout

Despite daily hospitalizations declining and tens of thousands more members of our community receiving the vaccine, Geisinger continues to feel the strains of the pandemic and asks for patience during the vaccination process.

While COVID-19 activity continues to be high in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, Geisinger is seeing fewer positive COVID-19 tests, lower positivity rates and a reduction in overall hospitalizations, but our communities remain at levels we saw in late November.

  • Over the past two weeks, we’ve averaged about 200 positive COVID-19 tests per day, with an average positivity rate of about 14%.
  • That is down from an average of more than 400 new positive tests per day in December and a positivity rate as high as 23%.
  • This past week, we reached the milestone of having fewer than 200 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, getting as low as 185 earlier this week.
  • Our previous peak was more than 350 in late December.

“We are still in a tenuous place, so even a small increase in hospitalizations can put us into a troublesome capacity situation that jeopardizes care for COVID and non-COVID patients,” said Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger’s president and chief executive officer. “Despite the vaccination rollout underway, we can’t lose sight of the fact we’re still facing challenges in our hospitals. In the past week, we are still admitting more than one new patient with COVID-19 to our hospitals every hour.”

There is uncertainty surrounding available vaccine supply, and because of this, we cannot accept any new first dose appointments at this time. All existing appointments will continue as scheduled for the time being. We are working closely with the state to understand quantities we can expect going forward. We look forward to opening additional appointments as supply becomes available.

  • This week Geisinger provided its 50,000th COVID-19 vaccine.
  • About two-thirds of Geisinger employees have chosen to receive the vaccine.
  • We are encouraged by promising trends among the COVID-19 positivity rate for our employees since introducing the vaccine. Current positivity rates among employees are at levels comparable to last summer.

“Demand for the vaccine is still incredibly high in our communities, and we will continue to provide the vaccine as supplies and logistics allow,” Ryu said. “We know a lot of people continue to have questions about when they can get an appointment. We ask for everyone’s patience and encourage you to visit and myGeisinger regularly for the latest information.”

Vaccine supply globally is fluctuating each week, but has been and will continue to be low over the next several weeks, increasing the time it will take to get through the state’s Phase 1A. That is why although vaccines are being provided across the Commonwealth each day, it remains necessary to continue following the preventive measures that have been in place to help stop the spread of the virus. Wearing a mask, thoroughly washing hands and avoiding large and small gatherings are still needed, as we are still likely months away from being able to loosen these measures.

For continued updates on the COVID-19 vaccine and updates on availability, visit

Scranton Area Community Foundation to Launch Special Grants Program

The Scranton Area Community Foundation is launching a special funding opportunity to provide critical, emergency grants to address needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Scranton Area Community has received a $100,000 gift from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to support those in the community experiencing hardship, and 501c3 charitable organizations in the Lackawanna County area can apply for grants up to $10,000. The Scranton Area Community Foundation, administrator of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, will accept applications for this grant cycle through the online grant management portal until Monday, February 1, 2021, accessible through the Foundation’s website,

“We are extremely grateful for this generous gift from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation during this time when there are so many continued needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Laura Ducceschi, Scranton Area Community Foundation’s President and CEO.

This special grants program is in addition to the regular Robert H. Spitz Foundation grants cycle which will begin in Spring 2021.

For more information on the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, please contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

More information about the Scranton Area Community Foundation can be found at

NEPIRC & IRC Network to Host Free Legal Aspects of COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers Webinar

In response to industry inquiries, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) and the Industrial Resource Center (IRC) Network will host a no-cost “Legal Aspects of COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers” webinar for manufacturing firms of all sizes on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:15 AM. The live interactive webinar will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams and advance registration is required.

The webinar will be moderated by NEPIRC and the featured presenter will be Atty. James Devine, a partner of Cipriani & Werner – a nationwide legal firm that specializes in representing employers in this niche aspect of HR and employment law. Among other topics, the event will cover the legal ramifications of mandating vaccination for employees, how to address the concerns of workers opposed to vaccination, the extent to which employers can disclose the vaccination status of co-workers and similar topics. Manufacturing sector managers, supervisors, HR professionals and executives desiring to register for the event should email CLICK HERE to immediately register. While the event is free to attend, electronic “seating” is limited to 250 attendees.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently announced two additional categories of eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as part of Phase 1A. Beginning January 19, all individuals 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the CDC that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. The Departments’ Updated Interim Vaccine Plan can be found here.

Those conditions are outlined by the CDC here and include: cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines; obesity; severe obesity; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; smoking; and type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

If you are part of a group that is eligible for vaccination, you can use the Pennsylvania Vaccine Provider Map to find a place to schedule your vaccine. Contact the vaccine provider of your choice directly to schedule an appointment. This map will be updated as more locations receive vaccine. Although a provider may have received vaccine, there is no guarantee that they have open appointments as supply is still very limited. Check back frequently as the map will be updated multiple times per week.  We’ll be releasing additional information later today, including an FAQ, with more detailed information on how individuals can find a provider to schedule a vaccination. Thank you for your partnership and for all you are doing to serve Pennsylvania.