Vaccine rollout in Pennsylvania and New Jersey slow, but steady

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- New Jersey and Pennsylvania health officials gave an update on the state of vaccination rollouts across both states on Monday as the coronavirus surges across the Delaware Valley.

In Pennsylvania, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the estate will receive 138,000 vaccine doses this week, but are still only administering it to people in Phase 1A - including healthcare workers and long term care facility residents.

"I know it is really challenging to have patience, but we must show patience as the number of vaccine available to Pennsylvanians is still extremely limited and will take several months before there's enough vaccine available for everyone," said Dr. Levine.

During a Monday press briefing, Levine said she is discussing when the vaccine rollout will expand to individuals who are part of Phase 1B, but would not provide a concrete date.

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As the new coronavirus variant spreads in the United Kingdom, health officials abroad have decided to extend the time between doses in order to vaccinate more people, more quickly. Now, doctors in the U.S. are discussing this, but not everyone agrees.

An analysis by the 6abc Data Journalism team found Pennsylvania averaged 212 coronavirus deaths per day over the last week, which is the highest in the state's coronavirus history. New Jersey averaged 92 deaths per day over the last week.

In New Jersey, lines snaked around the new vaccination mega-site, which opened at Rowan College Monday morning. Currently, staff can vaccinate 1,000 people per week.
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Governor Phil Murphy spent Friday morning touring New Jersey's newest mega-site for COVID-19 vaccinations.

State officials call that a "frustrating" number and said if it was fully supplied, they could vaccinate 2,400 people per day.

"It's disappointing that our federal government is continuing to lag on this effort but hopefully with a new administration it will become a priority again," said Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said in a press briefing Monday that vaccination demand currently outweighs supply.

"We are vaccinating only healthcare workers in the 1A category and sworn law enforcement and fire personnel from the 1B category," said Persichilli.

The Garden State is set to have six total mega vaccination sites when more doses are available to the public.
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