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More Than 6K School Workers Immunized On First Day Of Vaccine Push In PA

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Katie Blackley
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90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's program to vaccinate teachers and other school workers, starting in the youngest grades, immunized more than 6,500 people in its first days, officials said Friday.

The Wolf administration said 10 of the school clinics, organized by intermediate units, are up and running. Ten more were expected to become operational on Friday and the other eight should begin over the coming weekend.

In this first round, the clinics are administering the state's allocation of single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines to school employees in kindergarten through third grade, as well as those working with students with disabilities and students learning to speak English.

The current expectation is to vaccinate all school workers by the end of March.

The first round should cover about 94,000 people, officials said. About 240,000 K-12 education employees in Pennsylvania responded to a survey to gauge demand for the vaccine.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director Randy Padfield said the state expects to get more Johnson & Johnson vaccines by the end of March, and those should be more than enough to complete school worker vaccinations.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf was expected to announce other elements of the state’s vaccination effort at a news conference later Friday with lawmakers on the COVID-19 vaccine task force.

State sets out new guidelines for long-term care facilities

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is strongly encouraging long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania to immediately implement new guidelines from the federal government.

Sarah Boden reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says vaccinated nursing home residents should be allowed to hug guests, provided that they wear a well-fitted face mask. The updated guidelines also lessen restrictions around indoor visits.

These changes come as rising vaccinations rates have coincided with falling fatalities and COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities.

 

Wolf says the state will meet President Biden’s vaccination deadline

Gov. Tom Wolf says that Pennsylvania will be able to meet President Joe Biden’s deadline of making all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1.

“I think we expect to be through 1A, pretty much, by the end of March,” Wolf said. “So that leaves most of April, whatever the next categories are.”

In addition to people who are eligible under the state’s 1A guidelines, educators in Pennsylvania can currently get vaccinated. Once teachers and school staff are complete, Wolf says focus will shift to frontline workers, including grocery store employees, people in agriculture and meat packing, as well as first responders.

Read more from Sarah Boden.

 

LATEST NUMBERS

Allegheny County: 

  • 296 new cases
  • 9 new deaths

Pennsylvania:

  • 3,074 new cases
  • 40 new deaths
  • 1,494 patients hospitalized
  • 320 patients in ICU
  • 3,395,360 vaccine doses administered