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Pennsylvania’s Rate Of COVID-19 Vaccinations Drops About 90% In A Month

vaccine_distribution.jpg
Gene J. Puskar
/
AP
A Kaiser Family Foundation study found the number of first time vaccine doses distributed to Pennsylvanians in May dropped significantly compared to April.

On today’s program: A look behind the steep decline of the Commonwealth’s vaccination rates; Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation is asking for feedback about perceptions of autonomous vehicles; and natural gas companies are looking for ways to stop methane leaks, and brand themselves as “responsible.”

Declining COVID-19 vaccinations in the Commonwealth (0:00 — 07:06)

According to the CDC, as of May 10, 36.4 percent of all Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated, and another 16.3 percent are partially vaccinated.

However, the number of vaccinations has dropped more steeply in the commonwealth than in any other state in the last month. Kris Mamula, a health reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reported the number of Pennsylvanians getting the first dose of COVID-19 vaccinations distributed dropped by 93 percent compared to last month.

“It’s not necessarily a reflection on the state efforts or the health department efforts,” he says. “They’ve had their challenges.”

According to Mamula, the U.S. saw a 27.4 percent decline in vaccination rates as of April 29.

Governor Tom Wolf said he would lift the statewide face mask mandate when at least 70 percent of all adults are vaccinated. Mamula says this drop in vaccinations and hesitancy in the population would stretch this out to late summer.

PennDOT is asking the public for their thoughts on autonomous vehicles (7:07 — 13:25)

PennDOT is looking for the public’s input on the autonomous vehicles on the Commonwealth’s roadways.

Mark Kopko, the department’s Director of Transformational Technology, says the survey stems from their Highly Autonomous Vehicle advisory committee's desire to get the public perception of these vehicles.

The questions range from gauging the understanding of these vehicles, how safe those sharing the road feel, and how involved the state should be in regulation.

“Depending on what they feel the role of the department [PennDOT] should be, we can start to look at how we are doing our focus and our priorities,” Kopko says.

Kopko says the Department’s goal is safety, and the state is lucky that those testing these automated vehicles are also committed to the same thing.

The survey will be available till the end of the week.

‘Responsible’ natural gas (13:28 — 18:00)

Two natural gas companies with operations in Pennsylvania say they plan to certify some of their gas as “responsibly sourced.”

StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Rachel McDevitt reports on what that means and why they’re doing it.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
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