All Pennsylvania residents ages 16 and older will be eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by April 19, the state Department of Health announced on Tuesday.
The state was previously working toward meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of May 1 for universal eligibility, but now will accelerate implementation of Phase 1B, 1C and 2 over the next three weeks.
“The vaccine landscape continues to evolve as the federal government is increasing allocations to more retail pharmacy chains across the country,” Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said in a statement. “To ensure that vaccine continues to get to people efficiently and equitably, Pennsylvania is adapting its plan to allow workers in targeted industries to access any of the three vaccines available at providers throughout the state, and to accelerate our eligibility for remaining phases of the state’s vaccination plan.”
Beginning Wednesday, as previously announced by Gov. Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, workers in four targeted industries are eligible: law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store workers, and food and agricultural workers, which includes food processing, manufacturing, fruit and vegetable packing and farm workers.
The phased rollout then will follow this timeline:
– April 5: All residents remaining in Phase 1B will be eligible to start scheduling vaccination appointments. This includes U.S. Postal Service, manufacturing and public transit workers, clergy and other essential support for houses of worship,
– April 12: All residents in Phase 1C will be eligible. This includes essential workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, housing construction, finance (including bank tellers), information technology, communications, energy, legal services, government and media.
– April 19: All other residents will be eligible.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and 17. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for ages 18 and older.
“It is important to remember that eligibility does not guarantee an immediate vaccination appointment,” Beam said. “Vaccine providers are ready and eager to get a shot in the arm of every person who wants one while we continue to aggressively advocate for more vaccine.”
Beam said Pennsylvania vaccine providers are administering an average of 83,000 vaccinations per day. To date more than 5.1 million doses have been administered, including 3.4 million first or single doses and 1.7 million second doses. Vaccination numbers do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which work directly with the federal government.
A total of 43,725 people in Centre County are at least partially covered by the COVID-19 vaccine. The total includes 26,565 who are fully covered, either through the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both required doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, according to health department data.
Vaccine appointment waitlists are available in Centre County through Mount Nittany Health, Centre Volunteers in Medicine, Boalsburg Apothecary and Moshannon Valley Pharmacy. Appointments also are available through providers listed on the Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine website.