As of January 7, 2021, more than 202,000 Pennsylvanians had received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna. Both vaccines were granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December. This process is designed to fast-track medicines to treat or prevent life-threatening diseases in public health emergencies.
The first vaccines have been earmarked for health care workers and are being distributed at several hospitals, pharmacies and medical centers throughout the state. Long-term care residents and staff are also in the state’s top priority group. Nursing home vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania began the week of December 28, 2020.
Phase 1A: The state has developed tiered priority groups, following guidance from the CDC. Phase 1A includes health care workers and PA’s more than 120,000 long-term care residents, along with long-term care staff.
Phase 1B: Next in line is phase 1B, which includes people at least 75 years old and people living and working in congregate care settings who weren’t covered in phase 1A. The group also includes first responders, correctional officers, food and agriculture workers, postal workers, manufacturing employees, teachers and other education workers, clergy, public transit employees and certain types of caregivers.
Phase 1C: Once more vaccines are available, the state will turn to phase 1C, which includes people 65 and up, several types of essential workers not covered in previous phases (e.g., transportation and logistics employees, water and wastewater workers, food service staff and people who work in housing construction, finance, information technology, communications, energy, legal and federal, state, county or local government roles., and people at least 16 years old who have high-risk medical conditions (e.g., diabetes or chronic kidney disease). Phase 1C also public safety and health workers and members of the media.
Once the state works through phase 1C, it will distribute vaccines to the general public. To read more from AARP, click here.