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Pennsylvania Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility To Nearly 1 Million More People Today

Matt Slocum

Between 700,000 and 1 million more people are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania. The state moves into Phase 1B of its distribution plan Monday. 

Phase 1B includes a broad range of qualifications. Some members of Phase 1B have already been reached by targeted vaccination efforts and a previous expansion of vaccine eligibility as recently as last week.

Last week, as many as 250,000 frontline workers became eligible to get jabbed, including police, corrections officers and other law enforcement; volunteer and professional firefighters; grocery employees; and food and farm workers.

As of Monday, postal workers, public transit workers, staff and residents at prisons, jails, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters and intensive treatment programs can get vaccines.

A full list of those included in Phase 1B can be found in the state’s vaccine distribution plan.

Newly eligible residents can book appointments through hospital systems, pharmacies and federally qualified health centers. State health officials suggest residents use the health department’s vaccine provider map to get started.

Residents can also check UPMC and Allegheny Health Network websites for information about registering for wait lists. Other resources like VaccinatePA offer help searching for providers via zip code.  

The next expansion comes April 12, when the state moves into Phase 1C. That priority group includes workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, communications and media, public health, legal services, finance and construction. That population totals between 1.3 million and 1.7 million people, according to the state health department.

Beginning April 19, all Pennsylvanians will be eligible to receive a shot.

Statewide, Pennsylvania is averaging about 83,000 vaccinations a day. The supply has increased to the point that providers now feel comfortable scheduling weeks out, Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said.

As more residents become eligible for shots, some pandemic restrictions will ease this week. As of Sunday, bar seating is permitted and capacities for restaurants and event venues have increased. The state health department noted last week that it plans to monitor any impact on how the virus is spreading after the restrictions have been eased.

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