Pa. Acting Health Secretary gives update on state’s vaccination rates

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On June 28, the state will lift its masking order, but Department of Health Acting Secretary, Alison Beam says it’s too soon to tell if the state will reach its goal of 70% of adults fully vaccinated by then.

‘We’re still working on forecasting that would allow us to actually reach it but we know pragmatically, that’s going to be a considerable investment of folks getting vaccinated between now and then and so, for us, our goal remains the same, to get as many Pennsylvanians vaccinated as possible,” Beam said.

According to the CDC, as of Wednesday, 57.8% of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, while 73.7% have received their first dose. To be clear, those who received the single-dose, Johnson & Johnson vaccine are counted in the fully vaccinated group.

“The clinical community has really said that the hospitalizations, the ICU beds, and the deaths are really at this point, a majority of the unvaccinated population,” Beam said.

When it comes to getting kids vaccinated, Beam says there’s been a lot of interest.

“Hopefully, what we’ll see over the next few weeks and months is that incrementally, you’re going to have these vaccines approved for lower and lower ages,” Beam said.

As for a COVID-19 booster, Beam says the Department of Health hasn’t received much information, but that hasn’t stopped the department from planning for the future.

‘We’ve been able to test run a few of our best practices in these adolescent rollouts, I think what it’s allowed us to do is strategically plan for whatever comes by way of the booster shot, no matter the role of the state in playing some sort of administrator of the booster,” Beam said.

The state’s masking order will still be lifted on June 28, despite the state reaching its 70% goal or not.

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