The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, ushers in the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history - one that health officials hope the American public will embrace, even as some have voiced initial skepticism or worry. The first of two shots are expected to be given in the coming week to health care workers and nursing home residents.
Frontline workers, including hospital employees, will be among the first to be vaccinated in Pennsylvania. But what if you're not among them? What would this vaccine roll-out look like for you?
Action News spoke one-on-one with Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh.
Plans are being laid on how the vaccine will be administered, and who will receive it.
Like in most other areas, in Montgomery County hospital workers will be first in line, followed by staff and residents of long term care facilities.
"We're working with some of the local pharmacies to help go in and help with some of the vaccinations," says Dr. Arkoosh.
CVS says it will carry out that work in more than 40,000 US facilities.
So what about people who can work from home? When could adults who aren't front-line employees expect an available dose of the COVID vaccine?
"Late spring, maybe early summer. I'm being optimistic, but a lot of it depends on additional vaccines that will be approved," estimates Arkoosh.
Beyond Pfizer, other companies including Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are also developing vaccines.
Gov. Wolf announces new restrictions in Pennsylvania as COVID-19 cases surge
Montgomery County is already preparing for large scale pop-up drive-thru and walk-up clinics.
"People will be able to make an appointment, drive through in their car. If it's one of our drive-thru locations, they can put someone at every window and as long as they're in that particular priority group," says Arkoosh.
The number of vaccine vials a county receives from the state department of health depends on population size.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia will get shipments directly from the Centers for Disease Control.
Dr. Thomas Farley expects the first shipment to be in the "tens of thousands."
On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 11,084 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 481,118.
There are 5,668 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 1,151 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The first of many freezer-packed COVID-19 vaccine vials made their way to distribution sites across the United States on Sunday, as the nation's pandemic deaths approached the horrifying new milestone of 300,000. Frontline workers, including hospital employees, will be among the first to be vaccinated in Pennsylvania.
December 12 begins another version of a shutdown across the commonwealth. The coronavirus-related restrictions took effect on 12:01 a.m. and will last through 8 a.m. on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is continuing to recover at home after testing positive for the coronavirus this week. While announcing new COVID-19 restrictions in the commonwealth on Thursday, Wolf said he first tested positive Tuesday.
In 2016, Wolf was diagnosed with a treatable form of prostate cancer. A year later he received a clean bill of health. Experts say his cancer should play a minor or even no role in his recovery. Dr. Alexander Kutikov, the Chief of Urologic Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, says data shows a positive outcome for the governor is high.
In her eight years of nursing, Julia Kristen has never seen anything like this.
"I just can't get over how bad it is," said Kristen, who is a registered nurse working in the emergency room of Einstein Hospital. "Just one after another patient coming in so sick."
Americans should expect more COVID-related restrictions and advisories for the Christmas holiday, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert.
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