Vaccine eligibility increases as more sites hold walk-up appointments

Officials are urging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine right away now that eligibility has opened for everyone over 16 years old across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Video Transcript

- Now in the race to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, today New Jersey joined the rest of our area in allowing residents 16 and older to sign up for the shot. Action News reporter, Annie McCormick, is live at the Pennsylvania Convention Center with the latest about the vaccine rollout across the region. Annie?

- And Christi, that's right. And now that eligibility has expanded in the tri-state area, there is a greater push by officials to let people know the different ways that they can now secure a vaccination appointment. They're evening-- offering, rather, walk-up appointments all across the area, and a greater push, again, to make sure that people are getting their vaccines.

In Pennsylvania, everyone 16 and over is eligible to receive the vaccine, and that now includes Philadelphia. The city made the announcement Friday.

THOMAS FARLEY: We are entering a new phase now to where the people who are left unvaccinated are maybe not as eager as the people have already been vaccinated.

ANNIE MCCORMICK: Today New Jersey joins neighboring states, including Delaware, in expanding to 16 and over, too. There was a steady stream of people at the mega-vaccination clinic at Rowan College in Gloucester County today.

NINA MUNCIELLO: Finally, I feel like I can do-- go out with COVID and feel safer.

ANNIE MCCORMICK: In Philadelphia, both FEMA-run sites at the convention center and Esperanza again offered walk-up appointments, plus several city sites will offer "Walk-up Wednesdays" for seniors over 65. There are 260 city sites now operating. With so many now eligible for shots, officials want to make sure people are filling up the once hard to secure appointments. In Aston, Delaware County today, this site has gone hybrid.

DENNIS DAYE: We're looking for about maybe 200 walk-ups to be in addition to our 900.

HOWARD LAZARUS: We still need to fill all the available slots so more people can be vaccinated.

ANNIE MCCORMICK: According to data from the CDC, in the tri-state area between 25.6% to 29.7% of the population is fully vaccinated. The national average is 25.4%. Delaware County Executive Director, Howard Lazarus, said today they are also looking ahead to vaccinate children.

HOWARD LAZARUS: School district has a plan also to vaccinate 16 to 18-year-olds. Then over the summer months, as soon as vaccines are approved for pediatric use, we'll work with them on the 12-year-olds to 16-year-olds.

ANNIE MCCORMICK: And walk-up appointments here at the convention center ended today at 4:00 PM, but it hasn't ended overall. You need to check with the site to see when they will be offered again. As for those Johnson & Johnson vaccines, they are still on hold, being refrigerated until they receive more guidance about what to do next. For now, reporting live outside of the convention center, Annie McCormick, Channel 6 Action News. Christi and Rick.

- All right, Annie. Thank you. Meanwhile a pop-up--