Pennsylvania Hopes To Open COVID-19 Vaccinations To Everyone

State health leaders say they hope to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone by May 1; KDKA's Paul Martino.

Video Transcript

- --Pennsylvania, state health leaders say they hope to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone by May 1st. But as Paul Martino reports, Pennsylvania is lagging behind neighboring states that are offering shots to larger groups of people. Paul?

PAUL MARTINO: Yeah, Christine. After an admittedly slow rollout, Pennsylvania is now boasting that during the past week, they were among the top states in the nation when it comes to giving out vaccinations. But one problem here in Pennsylvania is you have to be 65 or older to get those shots. Our neighboring states, they're giving shots to younger people.

With Pennsylvania racing toward its goal to have everyone 65 and older scheduled for a vaccine by the end of the month, they've now announced another ambitious goal, vaccinations available to all by May 1st.

ALISON BEAM: We are working towards opening eligibility for everyone on May 1st. Eligibility does not mean that vaccinations will be immediately available. It will take time to get shots in the arms of everyone who wants a vaccine.

PAUL MARTINO: It's something to be optimistic about, but consider this-- Ohio and West Virginia have already opened up the age eligibility. Ohio offering the vaccine to anyone 16 and older. In West Virginia, you can sign up for a shot if you are 50 and older.

Maryland just opened up the age requirement too. Beginning next week, you can receive the vaccine at age 60 and older. 16-year-olds with a medical condition can receive the vaccine March 30th. And by April 27th, everyone 16 and older in Maryland is eligible. In Pennsylvania, they're opening up the eligibility for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which until now was only available to teachers and school staff.

ALISON BEAM: --to use a portion of the Johnson and Johnson or Janssen vaccine to vaccinate law enforcement and corrections officers, grocery workers, firefighters, meat processing industry workers, and agricultural workers.

PAUL MARTINO: The state health department says as of yesterday, the state has administered nearly four million shots, and they expect a lot more vaccines on the way. Reporting live from the North Shore, Paul Martino, KDKA News.