Pennsylvania is now making every person 16 and older eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration announced Monday.
The state, which opened up vaccines to all of the 1C group on Monday, had originally planned to wait until next Monday to open up coronavirus vaccines for all adults. April 19 is the date President Joe Biden called for all states to open up eligibility for vaccines to all adults.
Residents in 66 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties became eligible for the vaccine starting Tuesday, with the exception being Philadelphia. Health officials in the city said they are still staying with April 19 as the date for expanding eligibility to everyone 16 and older.
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The goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible as COVID variants threaten to slow progress made against the coronavirus.
“We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine rollout, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased,” Wolf said.
The state is urging every person to sign up and get a vaccine as quickly as possible.
“Everyone needs and should be afforded the opportunity to access the vaccine as soon as possible,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “And, this change provides earlier access for many, including college students increasing the likelihood of completion of two-dose regimens prior to leaving campus for the summer. It also means simpler, streamlined operations for vaccine providers that no longer need to check eligibility of people making appointments.”
To date, more than 6.5 million Pennsylvania have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the state said. More than 2.4 million people are fully vaccinated.
Cases, Hospitalizations Increasing in Pennsylvania
Daily coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania have risen more than 20% over the past two weeks to an average of more than 4,300 per day, but the rate of increase has slowed, according to data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Hospitalizations are up 50% over the past three weeks, according to the state Department of Health. Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have remained steady, averaging about 30 per day across the state.