Many frustrated at prioritization of teachers over first responders, others in 1A

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — While teachers are being prioritized, thousands of Pennsylvanians in phase 1A are still having trouble getting a vaccine.

Nearly 1.8 million Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of vaccine, but that leaves about 2.2 million people eligible and still waiting for their shot.

“Appears to me to be impossible to get an appointment,” Joe Sokol said.

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Joe Sokol is 68 years old and has part of his right lung missing from cancer surgery in 2008. He’s been searching for weeks early in the morning.

“First I go on the dashboard and go to those little blue dots you click on. It tells you the sites that have it, Weis Market and Rite Aid and Giant, and when I get there they’re all full,” Sokul said.

We’ve been told again and again there’s not enough supply to meet demand, but now there are 94,000 more doses available from Johnson and Johnson.

“Because we’re dedicating all of the supply from a newly approved vaccine to this effort, our vaccine rollout to the rest of the population will be unaffected,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Wolf says those in line for Moderna and Pfizer will continue to see an increase in supply.

“If the teachers are thrown in with this, as long as they make it available, I really don’t see why not. I don’t have an issue with that,” Sokul said.

Those who do have an issue are state troopers who were, until this point, also in phase 1B with teachers.

“To bump teachers ahead of us and have no thought of first responders is unacceptable. And it goes all the way up to the White House,” said David Kennedy, president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association.

Kennedy understands the need to get kids back in school, but says there’s still no plan for first responders.

Out of 4,300 state troopers, more than 700 have been infected, with nearly 1,000 department employees overall.

“We’ve had members affected. Our kids have been affected. Our families have been affected,” Kennedy said. “However, we can’t do our job properly to make it safe for those kids to go back to school unless we’re properly protected and somebody needs to think about that.”

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