Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

State announces all Pennsylvanians will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19

The Dauphin County/UPMC Pinnacle drive-through vaccination site at HACC in Harrisburg

Pennsylvanians are moving closer to the widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced today a plan to accelerate vaccine distribution, saying that all Pennsylvanians will be eligible for the shot by April 19.

“The vaccine landscape continues to evolve as the federal government is increasing allocations to more retail pharmacy chains across the country,” ​Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said. “To ensure that vaccine continues to get to people efficiently and equitably, Pennsylvania is adapting its plan to allow workers in targeted industries to access any of the three vaccines available at providers throughout the state, and to accelerate our eligibility for remaining phases of the state’s vaccination plan.”

According to Beam, state vaccine providers have increased the pace of vaccinations to around 83,000 per day, allowing them to move towards completing vaccinating those in phase 1A.

Today, March 31, law enforcement officials, firefighters, grocery store workers and food and agriculture workers are eligible, the commonwealth announced.

On April 5, all other residents in phase 1B will be eligible, including U.S. Postal Service workers, education workers, clergy, public transit workers, manufacturing workers, certain caretakers and those in long-term care facilities.

Those in phase 1C can begin scheduling appointments for the vaccine on April 12. That includes workers in food service, housing construction, communication, legal services and public safety fields, among others.

Lastly, on April 19, all Pennsylvania’s will become eligible for the vaccine.

“It is important to remember that eligibility does not guarantee an immediate vaccination appointment,” Beam said. “Vaccine providers are ready and eager to get a shot in the arm of every person who wants one while we continue to aggressively advocate for more vaccine.”

This news comes just two days after President Joseph Biden announced that, by April 19, 90% of adults will be eligible for the vaccine. He also said residents will be able to get them within five miles of their home with expanded offerings at pharmacies and vaccination clinics.

“President Biden has asked us to make every adult eligible for vaccination with the vaccine he is providing,” said state Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia). “We can do it, we can make the change.  We can get more vaccine to Southeast PA and across the commonwealth and target vaccine, so no one is left out.”

Residents can use the Department of Health’s Vaccine Provider Map to find a provider near them. The department will update the map as the federal government increases the number of pharmacies receiving vaccines.

People without internet access can contact the Health Hotline by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.

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