HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Wednesday announced a new, updated timeline for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Pennsylvania.
Starting today, March 31, workers in law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store workers, and food and agriculture workers are immediately eligible to register for a vaccine appointment.
Starting April 5, all individuals in Phase 1B will be eligible to start scheduling appointments.
Starting April 12, all residents in Phase 1C will be eligible to start scheduling appointments.
And finally, on April 19, all Pennsylvania residents age 16 and older will be eligible to schedule a vaccine appointment.
This announcement comes days before some COVID-19 mitigation efforts are set to be lifted.
Phase 1A is the first vaccine distribution step. The vaccine is currently being distributed to:
- Long-term care facility residents
- Health care personnel including, but not limited to:
- Emergency medical service personnel
- Nursing assistants
- Dental hygienists
- Pharmacy technicians
- Health professions students and trainees
- Direct support professionals
- Clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities
- Contractual HCP not directly employed by the health care facility
- Persons not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease among or from health care personnel and patients
- Persons ages 65 and older
- Persons ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Phase 1B Eligibility
- People in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and persons receiving home and community-based services
- First responders
- Correctional officers and other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A
- Food and agricultural workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Grocery store workers
- Education workers
- Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship
- Public transit workers
- Individuals caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs
Phase 1C Eligibility
- Essential workers in these sectors:
- Transportation and logistics
- Water and wastewater
- Food service
- Housing construction
- Finance, including bank tellers
- Information technology
- Energy, including nuclear reactors
- Legal services
- Federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff
- Public safety
- Public health workers
Phase Two Eligibility
All individuals not previously covered who are 16 and older and do not have a contraindication to the vaccine (note that at this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech product is approved for those age 16 and 17)
“It is important to remember that eligibility does not guarantee an immediate vaccination appointment,” Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam said. “Vaccine providers are ready and eager to get a shot in the arm of every person who wants one while we continue to aggressively advocate for more vaccine.”
“President Biden has asked us to make every adult eligible for vaccination with the vaccine he is providing,” said Sen. Art Haywood. “We can do it, we can make the change. We can get more vaccine to Southeast PA and across the commonwealth and target vaccine, so no one is left out.”
The Department of Health has a tool that allows individuals to find vaccine providers near them. Click here to find a provider near you.