Pa. vaccinations, by the numbers | Five for the Weekend

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Happy Weekend, all.

Pennsylvanians received some encouraging news this week – vaccines will be available to all residents who want them starting April 19. You can read more about the announcement here:

Pa. to open COVID-19 vaccinations to all by April 19

On Friday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health highlighted some statewide vaccination statistics. Let’s take a look:

  • Vaccine providers have administered 5,433,298 total vaccine doses as of Friday, April 2.
  • 1,924,837 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of more than 88,000 people per day receiving vaccinations.
  • 1,708,338 people are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.
  • 5,433,298 total doses have been administered through April 2, according to the department.
    • First/single doses:  3,633,175 administered
    • Second doses:  1,800,123 administered
  • A total of 5,870,320 doses will have been allocated through April 3:
    • 369,510 first/single doses will have been allocated this week.
    • 265,670 second doses will have been allocated this week.

As always, the top five stories from this week are below. 

Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

Cassie Miller, Associate Editor

1. Pa. to open COVID-19 vaccinations to all by April 19

Pennsylvania will accelerate its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, opening eligibility to four targeted industries immediately and phase 1B early next month, with everyone in Pennsylvania eligible by April 19,  state health officials confirmed Wednesday.

Those who are immediately eligible to begin receiving vaccines are law enforcement officials, firefighters, agriculture and food workers and grocery stores workers, none of whom can work remotely.

“All individuals in these groups” are eligible for vaccination regardless of immigration status or citizenship, Acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam said.

Beginning on April 5, the commonwealth will make residents in phase 1B of the Department of Health’s Vaccine distribution plan eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

2. A Black lawmaker is crusading for mandatory minimums. He’s raising a lot of eyebrows

It’s not often a first-term legislator’s name is on the lips of everyone from the state attorney general to a former House speaker.

But just shy of three months into his Harrisburg career, 33-year-old Democratic Rep. Amen Brown, of Philadelphia, already has been paid a compliment by both.

Brown helped Attorney General Josh Shapiro to convince the biggest promoter of Pennsylvania gun shows to stop selling kits that allow the purchaser to put together their own, untraceable firearm.

Brown appeared alongside the rumored gubernatorial hopeful at a celebratory press conference last month, and Shapiro thanked him by name.

3. A federal eviction ban has been extended until June. Here’s how to get help with rent payments in Pa.

Pennsylvanians who are behind on rent got another few months of stability on Monday, when the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that an eviction ban scheduled to expire on March 31 would endure through the end of June.

The federal public health order bars landlords from evicting tenants who lost wages or income due to the pandemic. It has provided renters in Pennsylvania a measure of protection since last September, when Gov. Tom Wolf allowed a stricter statewide ban to expire without issuing a new one.

Tenant advocates say the federal order has allowed renters to fall through the cracks in Pennsylvania, since it was up to judges in the state’s 67 counties to interpret and enforce it.

4. Pa. House bill would require students to pass civics test to graduate | Monday Morning Coffee

Can you answer any of these questions?

1. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
2. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
3. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
4. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
5. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

All five of those questions are included in the citizenship test put together by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

And if one northeastern Pennsylvania lawmaker has her way, Keystone State high school students will have to answer those questions — or some variant designed by their local district — in order to graduate.

Rep. Karen Boback, R-Luzerne, says the “alarming decline in civics knowledge among young Americans,” was the motivation for her new proposal, which requires students in grades 7-12 to take the test, and receive a score of at least 70 percent, to claim their cap and gown on graduation day.

Students would be allowed to take the test as many times as is necessary to attain a passing grade, Boback wrote in a  March 24 memo seeking sponsors for her legislation.

Boback says her proposal would build on a 2017 state law that already requires schools to administer their own locally developed civics test. That statute, which was based on a bill that Boback also sponsored, doesn’t have a requirement for a passing grade, she wrote.

5. A Pa. Republican backed gun restrictions for domestic abusers in Harrisburg. He didn’t in Washington D.C.

A little more than two years ago, then-state Rep. Fred Keller, R-Snyder, stood on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with a message for his conservative colleagues.

At the time, the chamber was considering a bill that would become Act 79, which makes it easier to take guns away from convicted domestic abusers, and the debate was dividing Republicans.

But Keller, an owner of “semiautomatic rifles with 30-round magazines” advised his fellow lawmakers that “responsible gun owners are not going to be harmed by this bill, not at all,” according to the House Journal for Sept. 26, 2018.

“People who love the Second Amendment, who like to go out to the range, who like to hunt, as long as they are responsible with their rights, they will not lose anything,” he continued.

And that’s the week. Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week. 

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.