(AP/WETM) — Pennsylvania marked a milestone on Thursday, with 50% of adults statewide now considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Wolf administration says it will lift an order requiring unvaccinated people to wear masks in public once 70% of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated, meaning at least two weeks beyond the last required dose. Alison Beam, the health secretary, said she expects the state to reach that mark in several weeks’ time.
The percentage stood at 50% on Thursday, according to federal data, while 68% of adults have had at least one shot.
The pace of vaccinations has been slowing for weeks, with most people eager to get the shot already having done so. Health Department data provided to The Associated Press shows Pennsylvania ordered only about a quarter of the vaccine doses to which it was entitled last week, signaling a steep drop-off in demand.
“From here on in, each shot is going to be hard-earned, and that’s not a challenge we’re going to shy away from,” Beam said.
Republican Congressman Fred Keller, 12th District of Pennsylvania, gave his thoughts on the milestone.
“Pennsylvania has 67 counties,” said Congressman Keller. “Those 67 counties contain Pennsylvanians. They contain Americans. We need to recognize the fact that anybody in Pennsylvania who wants a vaccine can get the vaccine.”
For Keller, he is ready to reopen.
“It is now time to allow Pennsylvanians, and have the trust in Pennsylvanians, to do what they do best,” said Congressman Keller. “That is protect themselves, protect their community, get back to work, get our kids back in school, and reopen our economy.”
The good news: Newly confirmed coronavirus infections are falling rapidly in Pennsylvania — down almost 50% in two weeks — as the weather warms and more people get vaccinated. Hospitalizations are down, too.
Gov. Tom Wolf plans to lift nearly all remaining pandemic restrictions on Memorial Day.