Geisinger offering vaccine info

With a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine receiving emergency use authorization, Geisinger has established an online resource hub to help address questions about the vaccine.

Available at, information includes details about the vaccine safety information, who Geisinger should vaccinate according to state guidance, and answers to frequently asked questions, according to a press release.

Geisinger will administer vaccines in accordance with state and federal guidelines. The Pennsylvania DOH has recommended health care systems prioritize vaccinating their own employees.Vaccine eligibility will expand as supplies and distribution protocols allow.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses of the same vaccine which must be given 21 days apart. Geisinger is expected to receive 2,000 – 3,000 vaccine doses in this initial shipment and began providing vaccines to eligible employees within days of receiving the first allotment.

Despite the anticipated distribution of a vaccine, it’s not a signal to end the preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. It’s expected that vaccines will not be widely available to the public until spring or summer of 2021. This means at no time — before, during or after — receiving a vaccine should people stop wearing a mask, avoiding large and small gatherings, physical distancing and handwashing.

Geisinger continues to see rising rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive test results across its hospital system. In the past two weeks, Geisinger is averaging more than one positive COVID-19 admission per hour to its hospitals, seeing more than 300 new positive outpatient COVID-19 tests per day, and has a positive testing rate close to 25 percent, meaning one in four people you encounter in the community may be infected with COVID-19.

Locals join U of S program

Two local women were among a group who participated in a University of Scranton Women’s Entrepreneurship Center and Small Business Development Center’s program aimed at developing business skills.

Jennifer Coleman of Carbondale and Michele Havrilchak of Olyphant were among 13 women who took part in the SBDC’s StartUP fall program.

Facilitated by experienced SBDC consultants, StartUP is a six-week certificate series designed for women in transition or those trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, according to a press release. The StartUP Program offers women education, support and guidance in determining if entrepreneurship is an option for them. Participants learn start-up basics, legal and insurance considerations, marketing and social media essentials, business plan development, accounting and budget skills, financing options and requirements, and goal setting. Local women business owners presented during the sessions to share their experiences.

The fall 2020 series was offered for free thanks to funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The free series will be held again in the spring. Those interested in the spring session can register at under the education and training tab. For more details, contact Katelyn McManamon, SBDC special projects coordinator, at 570-941-4168 or e-mail

Groups collaborate to help restaurants, needy

Three local groups are again joining forces to help families in need and restaurants struggling as a result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Nonprofit Scranton Tomorrow, Friends of the Poor and the University of Scranton launched the program earlier this year, at the onset of the pandemic. They sought donations to buy gift cards from Scranton restaurants and distributed them to families in need. This gives restaurants an economic boost while also helping residents.

The program is back in full swing as pandemic restrictions continue. Earlier this month, Gov. Tom Wolf banned indoor dining in restaurants through Jan. 4, along with a host of other measures aimed at reducing the spike in new coronavirus cases.

To donate, visit

PennDOT contest deadline extended

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that the deadline for the fourth annual Innovations Challenge has been extended through Jan. 15.

Students in grades 9 through 12, regardless of their school’s learning model, are invited participate in this year’s Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers, according to a press release.

This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.

The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore real transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.

Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete for the state championship.

For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit

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