Residents, experts think 70% vaccination rate in Pennsylvania is doable

UPPER DARBY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- With COVID-19 restrictions set to lift later this month in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, officials in the three states are emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated.

"I got mine done," said Mike Fries from Upper Darby.

President Biden has set a goal to have 70% of adults in the United States with at least one shot by July 4.

RELATED: Biden aims for vaccinating 70% of adult Americans against COVID-19 by July 4

"I certainly think it's attainable," said Paul Lott of Wilmington.

"I think it can definitely happen, for sure," said Mari of Claymont, who declined to provide her last name.

Governor Tom Wolf says he will end Pennsylvania's mask order when 70% of adults in the Commonwealth are fully vaccinated.

"When you're trying to incentivize the whole state or community to start to relax on some of the restrictions, it's nice to have a specific goal," said Dr. Marci Drees of ChristianaCare.

Drees is the chief infection prevention officer at ChristianaCare and serves as a liaison to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

RELATED: Pennsylvania to lift COVID mitigation orders, except masking, on Memorial Day

She thinks the president's goal is doable.

"We're already at 56%, so another 14% certainly seems achievable in the next two months, while still being a pretty high bar," Drees said.

"The hard work begins where we have to take vaccine to people where they are, because they're not necessarily against getting vaccinated, but they're not going to go out of their way."

Drees said that the more contagious a virus is, the more people you have to have vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

"We still don't really know what the true herd immunity needs to be, and it will change if we have more contagious variants that emerge," Drees said.

Numbers compiled by the Action News Data Journalism team show New Jersey has the highest number of fully vaccinated residents with 46.9%, while Philadelphia is at 35.7%

Roughly 56% of Americans have been at least partially vaccinated.

As far as convincing the holds outs, leaders in Philadelphia's collar counties have some ideas.

Officials in Chester and Delaware counties will be pushing programs that not only get vaccine into communities but help build trust in their safety.

"We're identifying local leaders within that community that have gotten vaccinated and can speak with authority to those communities," said Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden.

"You don't have to come to us. Call the Health Department we will meet you where you're at," said Chester County Health Director Jeanne Franklin.

Montgomery County, which is about 40,000 people shy of reaching the 70% goal, has held town halls and will continue with community outreach.

"I would not get your advice from crazy social media posts. If it sounds crazy, it probably is crazy," said Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair Dr.Val Arkoosh.
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