Governor says “A Future Without COVID-19 is Coming” as State Updates Vaccination Plan

While providing details on a new COVID-19 vaccination plan for Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf said, “A future without COVID-19 is coming”.  The Governor indicated the vaccine is key to lifting restrictions and allowing businesses to operate again at 100%.

“I would be looking at about 65 to 75% vaccination rate.  I would be looking at a really fast drop in the case count.   I would be looking at how well our hospitals are doing in terms of capacity.  I don’t know if that’s 2 months, 3 months or 6 months away to lift restrictions but we see it coming because we have the vaccine”, said Governor Wolf.

The Governor and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine also announced the fourth version of a vaccine plan.

“This update aligns our plan with the latest recommendations from the ACIP and CDC,” Dr. Levine said. “Phase 1A has been further defined to identify specific health care providers. Phase 1B is now a significantly larger group of people that includes people age 75 and older, those with significant health issues and essential workers. This update also creates a Phase 1C, which is those people age 65-74 and people with high-risk conditions such as cancer, COPD, hearth conditions and pregnant women, and those essential workers not included in Phase 1A or B.”

Essential workers in Phase 1C include the following sectors:

  • Transportation and logistics
  • Water and wastewater
  • Food service
  • Housing construction
  • Finance, including bank tellers
  • Information technology
  • Communications
  • 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
  • Media
  • Public safety
  • Public health workers

When more vaccine is available, anyone who was not previously covered and is age 16 and older, will now be vaccinated in Phase 2.

“Our recent success in slowing the spread of the virus, and the hope that we’ve been given with the introduction of these vaccines should energize all of us to continue the fight against this disease,” Gov. Wolf said. “We need to remain patient as vaccine distribution expands and the Department of Health works to keep everyone informed of the status of vaccine.

The most up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, including the fourth version of the plan can be found on the vaccine section of the department’s website.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., January 8, that there were 10,178 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 703,265.

There are 5,491 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, near double the peak in the spring. Of that number, 1,113 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older.