The Wright Center Offers Updated Vaccines

To help people guard against a potential triple threat of respiratory infections this fall and winter, The Wright Center for Community Health is offering access to newly updated vaccines for flu, RSV and the latest COVID-19 strain.

“The vaccines are safe and effective, and they offer our best defense against these ‘seasonal viruses’ that can be extremely serious, even fatal, for very young children and other vulnerable populations,” says Dr. William Dempsey, deputy chief medical officer of The Wright Center for Community Health.

To schedule an office visit that includes a vaccination, call 570-230-0019 or go online to use the express scheduling system at Please note, shipments of the most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine are not expected to arrive at The Wright Center’s primary and preventive care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania until the week of Sept. 18.

Here’s what to know about the availability at The Wright Center of each vaccine product.

Flu vaccines. Updated flu vaccines for the 2023-24 winter season are in stock at all of the health center’s primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. Health officials recommend annual flu shots for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions.

Experts advise that people in the United States get vaccinated between now and Halloween for maximum protection during the winter holidays when influenza cases tend to spike. All flu vaccines available in the U.S. for this season are the quadrivalent variety, meaning they are designed to protect against four different flu viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

RSV vaccines. Earlier this year, federal health officials approved two vaccines for use in people ages 60 and older to prevent respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV. The Wright Center currently has the Pfizer-manufactured vaccine, Abrysvo, in stock at all of its practices to administer to seniors who decide, in consultation with a health care provider, if the shot is appropriate for them. Adults most likely to benefit from the vaccine include those living in long-term care facilities and those who have underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems.

The new RSV vaccines for seniors might require a prescription from a doctor, according to published reports, and its cost may vary based on the patient’s health insurance plan. Some plans might not pay for the shot. Anyone concerned about coverage should reach out to their insurance company for guidance.

COVID-19 vaccines. As shipments arrive of the most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine, which is effective against the now-dominant EG.5 strain, The Wright Center will release additional public announcements. Watch for details to be shared soon via the health center’s website and social media channels.

Guidance about staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and proper dosing is available on the CDC’s website.

If you have questions about any vaccine, talk with your primary care physician or another trusted health care provider. The clinical team at The Wright Center is available to provide fact-based advice and proven strategies for coping with respiratory viruses and other issues that affect health and wellness.

Learn more about The Wright Center’s mission and integrated health care services by visiting

The Wright Center Promotes Routine Vaccinations for Infants

During National Infant Immunization Week, April 24-30, The Wright Center for Community Health joins with other advocates across the nation in highlighting the importance of protecting children 2 years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases. Those diseases include hepatitis B, rotavirus, rubella, whooping cough, and other conditions that can cause permanent disability, or even death.

Polio, measles, and other once-dreaded diseases are again threatening large numbers of children in the United States, due in part to the viral spread of something that physicians cannot easily cure: Misinformation.

The Wright Center for Community Health provides primary and preventive care services for patients of all ages, income levels, and insurance statuses at its network of health care clinics in Northeast Pennsylvania. Dr. Manju Mary Thomas, a pediatrician, provides a well-visit checkup for a pediatric patient at the Mid Valley Practice in Jermyn.

Bad advice about vaccines circulates broadly on social media and continues to cause well-meaning parents to delay or outright reject important immunizations in their children’s early years. In turn, that can result in needless sickness and suffering – and put entire communities at risk of outbreaks.

“Parents and caregivers of young children, including kids under 2, should check with the child’s health care provider to make sure the child is up to date on all age-appropriate immunizations,” said pediatrician Dr. Manju Mary Thomas, medical director of The Wright Center’s Pediatrics and Community-Based Medical Home Services.

“And if a child has fallen behind on any immunization schedule, make an appointment with the doctor’s office to get back on track,” added Thomas, who also sees pediatric patients at The Wright Center for Community Health Mid Valley Practice. “On-time vaccination is of vital importance to provide the best defense against potentially life-threatening diseases.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other promoters of the observance week tout the collective impact that routine childhood vaccinations have made over the past century, calling it a public health success story.

They frequently point, for example, to the introduction of the safe and effective polio vaccine in the United States in the mid-1950s as a major milestone. Before the vaccine’s availability, outbreaks led each year to more than 15,000 cases of paralysis. By 1979, polio infections caused by wild poliovirus had been eliminated in the U.S., only emerging when brought into the nation by travelers.

Other diseases also have been significantly controlled. In fact, the CDC estimates that routine childhood immunizations among individuals born between 1994 and 2018 will prevent over the course of their lifetimes an estimated 419 million illnesses. That translates into a reduction of 8 million hospitalizations and 936,000 early deaths, according to the CDC.

The Wright Center for Community Health provides access to pediatric vaccines at its multiple primary and preventive care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne counties. It also routinely dispatches a mobile medical unit, called Driving Better Health, to schools and other community hubs in Northeast Pennsylvania, offering age-appropriate immunizations and other services. The vehicle makes it easier for certain populations to get health care near where they live, work, and play. To find dates and locations of upcoming routine vaccination clinics, visit The Wright Center’s online events calendar, at

A parent or caregiver with questions about pediatric vaccines should talk with a trusted health care provider.

In addition to Dr. Thomas, The Wright Center for Community Health retains the services of these physicians who are board-certified in pediatrics: Drs. Prachi Agarwal, Kabir Keshinro, Alberto Marante, Vijay Prasad, and Linda Thomas-Hemak, the latter of whom is president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. They, and the enterprise’s other health care professionals, are available to listen to a parent’s concerns and have fact-based and respectful conversations.

Immunizing large swaths of the population is critical to building herd immunity and protecting the most vulnerable members of a community. Those at-risk residents include individuals “who are too young to be fully immunized or others who cannot receive recommended immunizations due to compromised immune systems,” according to the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition.

The coalition’s local chapter, the Northeast Immunization Coalition based in Wilkes-Barre, helps to amplify that important message and support partners, such as The Wright Center, as it strives to correct misinformation, administer shots, and prevent steep declines in immunization rates that have led to recent trouble in some parts of the nation.

A measles contagion in central Ohio late last year sickened more than 80 children, reportedly hospitalizing at least 32. Also, in 2022, the New York Department of Health issued a state of emergency after an unvaccinated young adult was paralyzed by polio, and wastewater testing later confirmed the spread of the virus in New York City and nearby counties.

Health officials suspect that a backlash to restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandated coronavirus immunizations in certain schools, might be fanning the current anti-vaccine sentiment. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has called vaccine misinformation “among the biggest threats” to public health.

Parents can do their part to protect their kids – and their communities – from easily preventable illnesses. Make an appointment to talk with a respected pediatrician or other health care professional about routine childhood vaccines.

For information about The Wright Center for Community Health’s pediatrics and other primary care services, call 570-230-0019 or visit