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Gov. Wolf Moves Up Vaccine Eligibility Timeline, Pa. Will Open Into Phase 2 On April 13

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) -- Gov. Tom Wolf says all adult Pennsylvanians who want to get the COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to schedule an appointment starting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13.

The new timeline is a week earlier than the state's original date of April 19 for moving into Phase 2.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is citing an ongoing appointment availability in many parts of the state despite the opening of Phase 1C today and Phase 1B last week.

In a news release, Gov. Tom Wolf said, "We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine rollout, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased. Therefore, just as President Biden has brought forward universal adult access to vaccines from May 1 to April 19, we are moving Pennsylvania's timeline of universal adult access to April 13."

A long line snaked around the parking lot of a mass clinic in Monroeville on Monday, when Allegheny Health Network administered roughly 6,000 doses. While most in line seemed to qualify under Groups 1A, 1B and 1C, everyone was on the honor system and screening was not possible.

AHN says ditching the groupings and opening up vaccine appointments makes the job much easier.

"I think it's an excellent idea. It will help us fill these appointments more quickly and get shots in the arms as quickly as possible," said Imran Qadeer, AHN's chief medical officer.

It comes at a time when vaccinations are in a race against the virus.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have spiked over the past few weeks across the state and in Allegheny County. Health professionals believe vaccinations are the best single way to bring the infection rate back down.

"We have to get shots in the arms as soon as possible, so we can bring down the infection rate in the county as well as reduce the hospitalizations and deaths associated with it," Qadeer said.

As vaccine eligibility opens to all adults, state health officials say they will also be continuing initiatives to get vulnerable seniors and minority communities vaccinated against the virus.

More than 2.4 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated, according to the Health Department. To date, Pennsylvania providers say they have administered more than 6 million vaccines.

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