Pennsylvania health officials announced Tuesday that anyone 65 and older or in high-risk health categories is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, following similar moves in states like New Jersey.
"Effective today, we're expanding our #COVID19 #vaccination efforts in Phase 1A to include anyone over 65 and people ages 16-64 with serious medical conditions that make them more at risk for severe illness," the state Department of Public Health said in a Facebook post at noon.
The announcement opens up the vaccine to hundreds of thousands more Pennsylvanians than had been previously eligible.
It also comes as the state continues to struggle with the vaccine rollout.
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Just a week ago, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said "we have to get better" in distributing the doses across Pennsylvania, acknowledging that the effort both nationally and locally has struggled to meet demand.
Here are the locations for getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (Delaware locations will be added Jan. 25.). You need to make an appointment in both states before getting vaccinated. There are currently no walk-in doses available at this time.
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"I think we need to do better to get vaccines in arms," said Levine, who on Tuesday was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden for assistant health secretary in the new White House administration.
Philadelphia, which operates its own distribution system, was expected to announce Tuesday that it is moving to Phase 1B of the CDC rollout process.
In New Jersey, where the vaccine was opened last week to anyone 65 and older, applications flooded in from residents following the announcement.
The United States has recorded more than 400,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by NBC News.
The nation reached the grim milestone just after 12 a.m. ET on Tuesday. In the past two weeks, an average of 3,286 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus each day.
For more information about the expanded vaccine rollout and where to find a vaccine provider, click HERE.