Gov. Wolf confident Pennsylvania will meet directive to open vaccines to all adults by May 1

Maggie Kent Image
Friday, March 12, 2021
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Gov. Tom Wolf is on board with the new federal plan.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In a speech marking one year since the designation of the coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden announced that by May 1, all adults in the United States will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

But Biden added, just because all Americans will be eligible, doesn't mean they'll get shots right away.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is on board with the new federal plan. He says he is confident with additional vaccine doses and vaccine administration sites, Pennsylvania can make headway in vaccinating the 1a population first.

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"There should be no waiting list by the beginning of May," said Wolf.

The PA COVID-19 Task Force says a majority of those currently eligible will get shots before the eligibility requirements relax.

"By mid-April, 80% of our 1a population will be on track to being fully vaccinated," said state Representative Bridget Malloy Kosierowski.

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In a Friday afternoon press conference, Wolf announced the next round of Johnson and Johnson vaccine shipments coming into the state will be dedicated to frontline workers. Eligible workers include law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store employees, food production workers and agricultural workers.

Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden says his county is ready to follow suit, but weekly vaccine shipments need to double.

Madden is also concerned about where an additional FEMA vaccination site may be located. He says he wants to ensure his, and other "collar county" constituents can take advantage of the site.

"A dosage of about 25,000 a week, we could really wrap up our 1a within four to five weeks, or at least have everyone with partial vaccinations by that point," said Madden.

The U.S. is expecting to have enough doses for 255 million adults by the end of May, but when will those shots get into arms?

The government will double the number of pharmacy providers and FEMA-run vaccination sites. Biden also announced additional medical workers will be eligible to administer vaccines, like dentists, veterinarians and medical students.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says that support will help speed up vaccine eligibility in the city.

"I'm hopeful that we are well into phase 1c by that point (May 1) and that will make people eligible. When they are eligible there will still be a wait," said Farley.