HARRISBURG – Following President Joe Biden’s directive to make all American adults vaccine eligible by May 1, Pennsylvania is responding with a broader vaccine strategy to meet that goal.
In a news conference Friday, Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced those efforts include completing phase 1A vaccinations first by the end of the month, “The Secretary of Health will be issuing an order today that will require vaccine providers to make the best efforts to schedule all 1A appointments by the end of the month. When I say by the end of the month I’m talking by March 28,” Wolf said.
The governor says those scheduled appointments would be within a ‘reasonable time.’ He also says the state will work with greater visibility into future allocations for providers to make sure those appointments can be fulfilled. The state is also beginning efforts to set up mass regional vaccination clinics.
“To capitalize on the connections and expertise of county leaders and to make sure our vaccination clinics have the resources and support they need to reach the greatest number of Pennsylvanians possible, we will working closely with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania to create plans for these regional vaccination clinics,” the governor said.
Wolf also announced the state will begin new vaccine initiatives for all front line workers next, finally answering calls to move those groups up in the vaccine line. The governor says the state will use the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after educators are completed.
“The new special vaccine initiatives will be directed towards law enforcement, firefighters, grocery workers, meat processing and agricultural workers. Our goal in establishing special vaccination initiatives is to help protect frontline essential workers in all of our communities between now and that May 1st time when everyone is going to be eligible,” Wolf said.
Gov. Wolf explained the Task Force is still working through the details of these next initiatives and will announce more information before additional Johnson & Johnson allocations become available on March 28. The governor also says Pennsylvania is now above the national average of first doses of 19%, with the state listed at 19.8%, and Pfizer and Moderna vaccine supply is also increasing.