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COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Dr. Rachel Levine Believes State's Vaccine Distribution Is Finally Getting Its Footing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- While many people believe coronavirus vaccine distributions are taking too long, Dr. Rachel Levine believes the state is finally getting its footing.

The real issue, according to Pennsylvania's secretary of health, is unrealistic expectations were set by the federal government. She believes people are honing in on the goal of 20 million vaccinations by the end of 2020, but that obviously didn't happen.

"Now to date, Pennsylvania has received 827,300 doses of the two approved vaccines," Levine said.

According to the state's numbers, only 34.5 percent of those doses were administered. So what's the holdup?

"There are reporting delays for hospitals of 24 hours, and CVS and Walgreens have reporting delays of up to 72 hours," Levine said.

Levine said the state is waiting on a large portion of nursing home data from CVS when it comes to residents and staff who received shots last week. On top of that, a number of doses are held back for Phase 1A's second dose. That's something Levine said could change with a new president.

"The Biden administration has suggested they might make a change in terms of the administration and distribution that they may not hold back vaccines for the second dose," Levine said.

Levine's concern with that change is if the supply chain can keep up, but Levine said it would increase the number of people vaccinated.

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"The only criticism is some of the messaging that came out of the federal government on what I consider to be unrealistic expectations," Levine said.

Meanwhile, the state expects to receive $100 million from the federal stimulus program to help coordinate a mass vaccination plan for the public. But right now, Levine said discussions are happening on when to move the state to the 1B Phase.

"The pace increased in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation very well last week and we want to continue to improve upon that," Levine said.

A map went live on Monday to help independent healthcare providers in the 1A Phase find locations to get vaccinated.

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