Gov. Tom Wolf says all Pennsylvanians in Phase 1A will be able to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments by the end of the month; KDKA's Andy Sheehan reports
- We begin with breaking news. Governor Wolf out with a plan to dramatically ramp up COVID vaccinations. How is he going to do it? Well, for one thing, the state is going to be counting on an increase in vaccine supply.
- The governor also says new regional mass vaccination sites will open. And as Andy Sheehan reports, group 1A will start finishing their shots by the end of the month. Andy--
ANDY SHEEHAN: Well, Christine, one group is the firefighters, both professional and volunteer. The governor wants to vaccinate all frontline workers by the end of the month and then start moving on to the rest of us.
The Friday fish fries at the Swissvale Fire Department are a mainstay in town, as are the firefighters themselves, both volunteer and professional. Under the governor's new rollout, all will be vaccinated by the end of the month.
BRAD CATTO: It's a wonderful idea.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Under the bipartisan plan, the governor wants to use an increased supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to immediately vaccinate firefighters and police, service workers who deal directly with the public like grocery store cashiers, and meat processors and agricultural workers.
TOM WOLF: We're announcing our commitment to the people of Pennsylvania that, to the extent we can do it, the appointments are going to be scheduled by the end of March for those in phase 1A who want to receive a vaccine.
ANDY SHEEHAN: To accomplish this, the state would work with health care systems to set up mass distribution sites. The hope is to expedite and complete the vaccinations of everyone in the A1 priority group, those on the front lines and people 65 and older, and then quickly begin vaccinating the rest of the general public.
TOM WOLF: This is going to help speed up our overall rollout. And it's going to let us move through each phase more quickly.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Most of the firefighters here have already gotten their vaccine but believe their fellow firefighters should be among the first in line.
BRAD CATTO: Being on the front lines, health care provider, firefighters, police officers, anybody that's going to interact with the public, I think it's a great tool. Because we're obviously being exposed to coronavirus on a daily basis.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Now, already across the state, there has been a big push here and across the state to vaccinate the teachers. The governor says they will continue to be a priority. We'll have more on that and more on this plan coming up at 6:00. For now, live in Swissvale, Andy Sheehan, KDKA news.