An orderly, planned distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is a priority of the Wolf Administration and Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine shared an update on the vaccine, stressing its safety and efficacy.
“I am here to tell you that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe to use, and very good at protecting people who are vaccinated,” Wolf said. “If you hear a rumor about COVID-19 from a friend, or see something online that concerns you, take a few minutes to verify the information before you get too worried. Five minutes of fact checking can save you and your loved ones a lot of worry.”
Levine provided an update on the number of vaccines distributed by the federal government in the commonwealth. That number is reaching one million as the state is in its fifth week of receipt of vaccines.
“Our mission to immunize any Pennsylvanian who wants a vaccine continues,” Levine said. “The Federal Pharmacy Partnership has vaccination clinics at 159 skilled nursing facilities this week. Vaccine providers have administered vaccines to a total of 311,477 people, including 251,133 people who have received their first dose and 30,172 who have received two doses and are considered fully vaccinated.”
In McKean County, there have been 1,220 first doses given, and 28 second doses. In Elk County, 1,119 first doses had been given, and 113 second doses. In Potter County, 320 first doses have been given, and 47 second doses. In Cameron County, 90 first doses had been given as of Tuesday, and 1 second dose.
Vaccine distribution is currently in Phase 1A in Pennsylvania, meaning it is only available to health care personnel and long-term care facility residents.
Phase 1B, which Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says will happen soon, will include people 75 and older, people in congregate settings other than long-term care facilities, people receiving home and community based services, first responders, corrections officers and other workers in congregate care settings, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, education workers, clergy and essential support personnel for houses of worship, public transit workers and people caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs.
Phase 1C will include people aged 65 to 74, people aged 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions causing increased risk, essential workers in the following sectors: transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, housing construction, finance including bank tellers, information technology, communications, energy, legal services, government workers, elected officials, members of the judiciary and staff, media, public health and public safety.
Phase 2 will include anyone not previously covered who is 16 or over and does not have a contraindication to the vaccine.
Health officials noted that the vaccine will not be the cure, but will be “another tool in the toolbox for our fight against COVID-19,” and that other mitigation efforts must continue.