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As Pa. Shifts To Phase 1B, People Not In Phase 1A Or 1B Get Coronavirus Vaccine When Half-Full Clinics Open To All

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pennsylvania expanded its coronavirus vaccine eligibility to Group 1B on Monday.

But as KDKA's Andy Sheehan reports, some people outside of Groups 1A and 1B got a vaccine.

There was a clinic at the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department on Monday for people in Group 1B. But when it did not fill up, organizers opened the clinic to everybody.

As of Monday morning, Tanya Mozimchalk didn't qualify. But when given the chance to get her first dose, she jumped at it.

"I actually thought I was going to start crying when I got the appointment. It's been a long year," Mozimchalk said.

On Monday, Pennsylvania began broadening the availability of the vaccine, moving from Group 1A to include a broad group of others in Group 1B — just who they are is a bit confusing.

"It is rather complicated if you haven't looked up the guidelines," said Adam Rice of Spartan Pharmacy.

Phase 1B includes food, agricultural, grocery store and education workers. Phase 1C, which begins April 12, includes financial workers and informational technology and communications workers. But not until April 19 will the state move into Phase 2, which will open up vaccines to everyone 16 years and older.

"There's no way to screen for 1B right now. It's just impossible to screen for it," Rice said.

Rice says the state should open vaccines to everyone now.

"We got to get shots in arms," the pharmacist said.

Steven Guenther works at Carnegie Mellon University and qualifies under 1B. But he was able to sign up his 16-year-old daughter, Emory, and 18-year-old son, Garrison, who were all very relieved to get the vaccine.

"I'm feeling really good. We've been very careful throughout the pandemic and anxious to get another layer of protection," Steven said.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan asked the state Department of Health to comment on Monday's clinic and whether Spartan Pharmacy acted correctly. He has not heard back. But in just two weeks, the state will be opening up to everyone and it's a safe bet a lot of people will be jumping the gun.

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