Wolf: Pa. closes in on ending Phase 1A covid vaccinations – TribLIVE

Pennsylvania is “catching up” on vaccine distribution, Gov. Wolf said Tuesday.

About 31% of the commonwealth’s population has gotten their first dose, compared to the national average of 29%, he said. Pennsylvania matches the national average when it comes to the amount of people who have gotten second doses, at 16%.

“If you look at the 10 most populous states, we’re No. 1 in the country, in terms of first doses,” Wolf said. “And we’re tied for second with a bunch of the biggest states for (second doses).”

Wolf provided an update on Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout while visiting a UPMC drive-thru vaccination site in Dauphin County.

“We’re making some really good progress in getting the vaccine out, and what you see behind us here is an example of great work people are doing all across the commonwealth,” he said.

Wolf was optimistic about the state’s progress in vaccine distribution, estimating Pennsylvania is about 75% of the way through Phase 1A, “and we should be finished with them fairly quickly.” Wolf’s initiative to vaccinate all teachers and school staff with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also nearing completion, he said.

Phase 1A, initially reserved for health care workers, expanded to include residents aged 75 and up. That phase expanded again to align with federal guidance moving anyone aged 65 and up and those 16 to 64 with certain conditions into the first priority group.

In early March, the Wolf administration announced it would earmark the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the state’s educators, aides, bus drivers and other staff.

It is still unclear exactly how eligibility will expand after Phase 1A is completed. Wolf last week hinted that phases may become obsolete as eligibility expands.

He said Tuesday he expects a “steady cadence” of vaccine to be allocated through the federal government, and anticipates being able to offer vaccine eligibility to every adult by May 1 — a goal set by President Joe Biden. Wolf said Pennsylvania should be able to meet that deadline, but didn’t give a specific date.

“Most of the states have actually established a time … before the May 1 deadline,” Wolf said. “We’re talking about that now, how we want to move through where we are right now and how quickly we can do it. We have a better sense of what the supply is, what vaccines are coming, what the demand is.”

Wolf and health officials said March 12 that anyone in Phase 1A who wants to be vaccinated should be able to have an appointment on the books by the month’s end. On the same day, officials also pledged to elevate the priority of certain essential workers and doubled down on meeting the May 1 open eligibility goal.

“I think we’re on schedule to do that,” he said Tuesday.

Teghan Simonton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, tsimonton@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Categories: Coronavirus | Local | Pennsylvania | Top Stories

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Wolf: Pa. closes in on ending Phase 1A covid vaccinations – TribLIVE

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