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Wolf administration discusses allocation of newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — PA Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam, Department of Education Acting Secretary Noe Ortega and PEMA Director Randy Padfield outlines the Wolf Administration’s plan to provide Pennsylvania’s allocation of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine to teachers, school staff members and childcare workers.

Acting Secretary Beam school workers will be contacted about getting the vaccine and receive instructions from employer, and child care workers will be contacted by retail pharmacies to coordinate their vaccine appointments.

Through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership, retail pharmacy partners, Rite Aid, Topco and Walmart, will be providing vaccines to day care workers in the commonwealth. Those retailers will begin providing those vaccines Thursday for those workers.

The Wolf Administration is collaborating with Intermediate Units (IUs) and other education partners to equitably vaccinate all school employees and contracted staff as quickly as possible.

There will be at least one vaccination site per IU region. School staff will be directed to the vaccination site in the region within which their school is located. 

According to the Department of Health, IUs will work with Pre-K to 12 school entities to identify staff who are interested in receiving the vaccine. The following individuals will be given the first opportunity to register:

  • Pre-K-12 teachers of students with disabilities and English learners and related in-classroom support staff;
  • Elementary teachers and related in-classroom support staff, beginning with the youngest students;
  • Bus drivers/transporters, and support staff and contracted service providers who have direct contact with elementary students; and
  • Other priority school staff who have regular, sustained in-person contact with students during the school day.

While this initiative will positively impact classrooms and students, Beam says it will not affect allocations of vaccines to other resident’s in phase 1A.

The Department of Health continues to allocate Pfizer and Moderna to providers across the state to ensure second doses are allocated properly. Beam says the department still does not have vaccines for everyone that wants one, but the situation is improving as they get more shipments.

Beam urged Pennsylvanians to remain patient as the amount of vaccines remain limited.  

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