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Health, Science & Tech

Less Than Half Of Allegheny County Residents Have Received At Least One Vaccination

WESA reporter Sarah Boden gets the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Sarah Boden
WESA reporter Sarah Boden gets her second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Central Outreach Wellness Center. (04/17/2021.)

Daily coronavirus case counts in Allegheny County are finally on the decline, after weeks of going up.

During a Wednesday press conference, Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the county health department, said that at the beginning of April there were about 425 new cases a day. Now the county is tracking roughly 350 cases a day.

“But it’s still a significant number of people getting sick,” Bogen said. “And I’m going to remind you that we still are reporting deaths, nearly daily, from COVID-19 in our community.”

In order to defeat COVID, Bogen said a significant number of people need to get vaccinated soon. Less than half of county residents have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Public health experts say it’s important to make getting the vaccine as easy as possible. So, in addition to increasing the availability of walk-in appointments at county-run clinics, the health department is shifting away from large vaccination sites.

“[We’re] moving into more targeted, smaller events to reach populations of people who haven’t had access, or who really would like to have something right in their neighborhood,” Bogen said.

The county has already started this process with clinics at churches in the Hill District and McKeesport.

Transportation is a major barrier to accessing the vaccine for many people, so having a clinic within walking distance can be hugely beneficial. This is especially true for hourly workers, or people with physical disabilities.