All Pennsylvanians will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments beginning April 19; KDKA's Nicole Ford reports.
- Also breaking, big news on COVID vaccines in Pennsylvania. If you've been wondering when you'll finally be able to schedule your shot, we now have a date for everyone, April 19. That's two weeks ahead of President Biden's directive of May 1.
- It's also earlier than previous estimates as well. Nicole Ford is live with why now. Nicole?
NICOLE FORD: Kim, Ken, we've watched our neighboring states move up their eligibility timeline, and Pennsylvania did nothing until today. So why now? Well, state leaders say it's a combination of ramping up that vaccination pace 83,000 doses given out a day and the president's new goal. President Biden made that announcement on Monday to have 90% of adults eligible in three weeks while the Commonwealth was still sitting in the first phase.
Well, here's the state's answer. Starting today, front line workers like first responders and grocery store workers can now make an appointment, then Monday, eligibility will open up to the rest of phase 1B, followed by 1C on April 12, and the general public on April 19.
So will we soon see these mass vaccination sites that the state kept pushing? The answer is no. Acting health secretary Alison Beam says, rather, the vaccine doses are going out to more providers.
ALISON BEAM: We pivoted and we knew that the regional mass vacc sites, at this time, the operational lift associated with them was not the most prudent use of our resources. And so instead, we're taking the vaccine and we're investing it directly into the counties how their local leadership has requested that we invest it into their counties and their provider community.
NICOLE FORD: So as we speed up this vaccination timeline, people want to know does that mean we're going to be closer to herd immunity and take off the masks faster. Well, Beam went on to say that the governor is constantly reviewing these processes. And right now, case numbers are actually on the rise in the Commonwealth and they're going to use the restrictions lifting on Monday as a test to see how everything goes on when we may see more mitigation efforts lifted come summertime.
For now, reporting live on the North Shore, Nicole Ford, KDKA News.