Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine speaks during a press conference inside PEMA headquarters on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.
In a briefing with reporters Monday, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said the commonwealth expects another 138,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Pennsylvania this week.
The news of more doses comes as the state recorded 12,844 new positive cases over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 726,154. Since March, there have been 17,853 deaths attributed to COVID-19 statewide.
On Monday, Levine announced that the state Department of Health had launched a provider map on its website to help health care workers not affiliated with a hospital find and receive a vaccine.
Users can search by location, type in an address or zip code and filter by facility type.
According to state data, 285,671 doses of the vaccine were administered through Sunday. However that number does not include vaccines administered through the CVS as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership.
Reporting from partners such as CVS can take up to 72 hours, Levine noted, adding that she believed this delay in reporting is responsible for “misconceptions” that vaccines are “sitting on the shelf” after they arrive.
While the state continues to prioritize vaccinating health care and other essential workers in the 1A category of the vaccine distribution plan, Levine said the Department of Health is “having discussions now” about when group 1B, including social workers and law enforcement officers can be activated.
Levine reiterated that it will take “several months” before the vaccines are available to all Pennsylvanians who want them.
In the meantime, Levine said, residents can talk to their healthcare provider to make sure they are candidates for the vaccine and continue social distancing and other mitigation measures.
Levine clarified her position regarding vaccine distribution to other groups if other 1A personnel aren’t available to receive the vaccine before it spoils.
It’s “absolutely fine with me,” Levine said, encouraging hospital personnel to seek people in the 1B category if someone in 1A is not readily available.
As the vaccine rollout continues, Levine said there were no plans to lift the state’s travel restrictions, requiring a negative COVID-19 test or 14-day quarantine.
“We’re still very concerned” about the number of cases, Levine said, adding, “We won’t see an impact from the vaccine on case levels for several months.”
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