All PA adults to be eligible for vaccine Tuesday

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is moving forward with vaccinating all adults beginning Tuesday.
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Pennsylvania is moving to make all adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine Tuesday, nearly a week ahead of schedule.

However, Philadelphia—where local officials oversee vaccine distribution—is still “on track” to open up access to all residents Monday, April 19, according to Jim Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Public Health.

State leaders, in announcing the decision, cited available appointments in many parts of the commonwealth and a need to inoculate college students before they leave campus for the summer.

“We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine roll-out, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement Monday.

Last week, city officials, heeding a call from President Joe Biden, pushed forward its deadline for removing eligibility restrictions, which had previously been planned for May 1.

Wolf’s administration had initially said in late March that Pennsylvania would move to all adults, or Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, on April 19.

“Everyone needs and should be afforded the opportunity to access the vaccine as soon as possible,” Alison Beam, the state’s acting secretary of health, said in a statement Monday.

“It also means simpler, streamlined operations for vaccine providers that no longer need to check eligibility of people making appointments,” she continued.

Philadelphia’s Phase 1C, which includes wide swaths of essential workers, began in earnest Monday. Several groups in the category — sanitation workers, janitors, utility workers and postal and delivery employees — became eligible last week.

Now, those who work in higher education, transportation, finance, construction, IT and telecommunications, media, law, public health, landscaping and social services can sign up to receive their shot.

In addition, government employees, election workers and the unpaid caregivers of medically vulnerable people are eligible for the vaccine.

Pennsylvania’s 1C, which differs from the city’s priority plan, also began Monday.

More than 4.2 million people in the commonwealth, outside of Philadelphia, have received at least one injection, equal to about 39% of the state’s adult population. About 2.4 million are fully vaccinated.

“This further-accelerated plan will move us much closer to the goal of vaccinating Pennsylvanians as quickly and equitably as possible,” Wolf said Monday.

In Philadelphia, about 428,500 residents, or 34% of those ages 16 and older, are at least partially vaccinated, and more than 276,000 have been given two doses or an injection of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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