The Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, announced the start of the special initiative to vaccinate targeted industry workers and to quicken the vaccination timetable for those in Phases 1B, 1C and 2.
Pennsylvania will begin the following phased rollout:
March 31 workers in the four targeted industries that Gov. Wolf and the Task Force announced on March 12:
Law enforcement, which includes police, sheriffs and deputies, constables, corrections officers and staff, as well as probation and parole staff.
Firefighters, including career and volunteer firefighters.
Grocery Store workers, including all workers in supermarkets and grocery stores.
Food and Agriculture workers, including all food processing company employees, including meat, poultry, and dairy processing, fresh fruit and vegetable packing operations, food manufacturing, all farmworkers, farm operators, and farm managers, including at urban agriculture operations.
April 5all residents in Phase 1B will be eligible to start scheduling vaccination appointments.
April 12all residents in Phase 1C will be eligible to start scheduling vaccination appointments.
April 19, all residents will be eligible to start scheduling vaccination appointments.
It is important to remember that eligibility does not guarantee an immediate vaccination appointment. Vaccine providers are ready and eager to get a shot in the arm of every person who wants one while we continue to aggressively advocate for more vaccine.
Residents should continue to use the Department of Health’s Vaccine Provider Map to find a vaccine provider nearest them. The department will continue to update the map as the federal government increases the number of pharmacy chains receiving vaccine through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership.
People without internet access can contact the Health Hotline by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
Supporting Our Older Adults
Pennsylvania is making significant vaccine progress with more than 5 million doses administered across the state.
Last week it got easier for adults eligible under Phase 1A to get vaccine appointments thanks to the Vaccine Provider Order. This update helps us move forward towards getting all Phase 1A eligible adults scheduled as quickly and equitably as possible.
The order now requires certain vaccine providers to work with local Area Agencies on Aging and Medical Assistance Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to schedule vaccine appointments for Phase 1A.
If you have friends, relatives, or neighbors who are eligible under Phase 1A, check in on them. Ask about their vaccination plans and if they need help. If they still need an appointment, then help get them connected to their local Area Agency on Aging or Medical Assistance MCO.
COVID-19 Free Crisis Counseling Services in PA
During the pandemic, it has become clearer than ever that maintaining our mental health is important for our overall well-being. With the stresses, challenges, and uncertainty faced by so many in our communities, we know there is a significant need and demand for mental health services and crisis counseling.
The Department of Human Services’ Persevere PA Program offers 24/7/365 over-the-phone crisis counseling services to Pennsylvania residents which is free and confidential. The program helps Pennsylvanians recover and rebuild their lives and can offer counseling assistance focusing on helping individuals with:
Understanding their current situation and reactions
Reducing stress and providing emotional support
Reviewing their recovery options
Promoting the use or development of coping strategies
Connecting with other people and agencies who can help them in their recovery process
The Persevere PA Support and Referral Helpline can be reached at 1-855-284-2484 (TTY:724-631-5600) and is available in English and Spanish.
Celebrating the Holidays Safely
As vaccines increase in Pennsylvania, we still must remain cautious. While we are making progress in getting vaccines to every Pennsylvanian who wants one, we must continue to follow our prevention measures. It may mean that our holidays look different this year, but we can still find ways to celebrate safely with our loved ones.
Holidays and social gatherings are important, and we have many traditions – often ones that include holding festive celebrations, spending time together, and sharing meals. But research shows that small private gatherings with family and friends can spread the virus just as quickly as big public events.
There is a significant risk of sharing the virus any time we get together with others we don’t live with, even if we feel fine. We should continue to follow all health and safety measures, like wearing masks and keeping six feet apart.
If you need some ideas for how you can creatively celebrate the holidays, check out the PA Unites Against COVID webpage for Holidays & Gatherings.
Tell Your Family & Friends to Sign Up for Weekly Updates
When you have good information, you can make good decisions. Together, we can defeat the virus.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine gives us hope, and a path back to our lives. We know there’s a lot of information out there, and it can be hard to keep track of all the changes. That’s why we started a new email newsletter called the Unite Against COVID Weekly Update and you can sign up on PA.GOV/COVID. Previous updates are available in English and Spanish on our website.
Question of the Week
Is natural immunity from COVID-19 better than immunity from the vaccine?
Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don't know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.