HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Pennsylvania will soon begin vaccinating people 75 years and older and "essential workers" like police officers, grocery store clerks and teachers, the state health secretary said Monday.
The state remains focused on giving the COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities — a group that numbers about 1 million — but is making plans to move to the next stage of its vaccination plan, Dr. Rachel Levine said at a media briefing.
She was not more specific about the timing, but said that second group, dubbed 1B, will be eligible to receive the vaccine before everyone in the first group has been inoculated.
"We are working to ensure everyone who wants access to a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get it," said Levine.
Phase 1B of the state's coronavirus vaccination plan includes people 75 and older as well as frontline essential workers, a huge and diverse group that includes clergy; first responders; prison guards; school staff; and food, manufacturing, postal, public transportation and grocery store workers.
To date, the federal government has allocated more than 827,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to Pennsylvania. More than 285,000 shots have been given, though Levine said the actual number is certain to be higher because reporting by hospitals and pharmacies lags by one to three days.
Some providers are already vaccinating people in the second group when they don't have someone in the first group readily available to receive it. Levine said that's OK.
"We don't want any vaccine wasted," she said.
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