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Vaccinate NEPA: State officials announce accelerated vaccine plan

Vaccinate NEPA

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Pennsylvania is now locked in to make COVID vaccine appointments possible for all adults before President Biden’s suggested deadline of May 1.

Leaders in Harrisburg announced today they will beat that deadline by more than a week. It’s quite a change in fortunes for Pennsylvanians eager but unable to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

State health officials announcing an accelerated vaccine timetable for adults who want the shot. It’s words from Harrisburg so many Pennsylvanians have been eagerly waiting to hear.

“On April 19, two weeks ahead of the President’s directive, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be prepared to open vaccine eligibility to all Pennsylvanians 16 and older,” Acting Secretary. Alison Beam, PA Department of Health said.

And immediately for any of the roughly quarter of a million frontline workers in four targeted groups who’ve been unable so far to schedule a vaccine appointment.

“These four sectors have been challenged during this pandemic: firefighters, law-enforcement officers, grocery store workers and food and agricultural workers,” Beam said.

Starting Monday, vaccine eligibility expands to everyone in Phase 1B including postal, public transit and manufacturing workers. Then one week later on April 12, it’s Phase 1C’s turn made up of transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, communications and media, public health, legals services, finance and construction.

Beam crediting the new timeline to a more robust vaccine supply and successful strategy.

“Because of the focused provider network that we created earlier this month, local providers now have better predictability into the supply so that they can schedule out,” Beam said.

According to Beam, Pennsylvania is currently averaging about 83,000 vaccinations a day. She says accelerating the timeline will not create appointment backlogs like we’ve seen in recent weeks.

“Launching these special initiatives allows us to address demand and vaccine hesitancy while keeping our current vaccination progress moving forward. And we are making progress,” Beam said.

Pennsylvania officials also urge us to not let down our guard just because more of us are getting vaccinated.

The Health Department says we should all continue safe practices while mitigation efforts also continue

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