Pennsylvania is almost at its 70% vaccination target, but is it enough?

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania is almost at its goal of getting 70% of adults fully vaccinated. But, that goal was set by state leaders months ago, so does it still matter?

In short, no. Experts say hitting 70% is likely not enough to keep our population safe.

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Pennsylvania hit 69.4% of adults fully vaccinated on Friday, Oct. 8. Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson says we’re doing well, but need to keep going.

“We’re not quite there yet, don’t take your foot off the gas. Get vaccinated and tell your friends and family,” Johnson said.

With the Delta variant spreading and cases in children spiking, doctors believe we need to aim higher than before.

Dr. Nancy Mimm, an expert in population health at Harrisburg University, says we want to get shots out to as many people as possible.

“Really, we’d love 100% but I’m realistic, we’re not going to get it there. Let’s get it to 90%,” Mimm said.

Dr. Johnson says while most other states are giving out more booster shots than original doses, that’s not the case here in Pennsylvania.

“We are still seeing that we’re getting more people getting that primary series of vaccinations than those booster doses. And the booster doses that we’re giving are on par with the rest of the nation,” Johnson said.

She believes there are still unvaccinated people who can be convinced to get their shots.

“Getting the vaccines close to them right where they are and giving them credible information to make that decision,” Johnson said.

The hope is our vaccination numbers go up soon.

“It’s really important that we do it now. Flu season is upon us, doors are going to be closed, windows are going to be closed. We are going to be joining each other for celebrations. And those are high-risk situations,” Mimm said.

The number we are really aiming for is zero new covid cases.

“What we want to see is back to where we were before, where those case rates are going down and we’re getting less community transmission, so that will be the real marker,” Johnson said.

Vaccines are expected to be approved for children soon. Both say that could be really helpful in protecting our total population.

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