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Some could get vaccine sooner than expected

WILLIAMSPORT — People age 65 or older as well as those who have pre-existing conditions could beginning receiving COVID vaccinations sooner than expected.

The federal government has suggested moving those 65 and older currently in phase 1B, into phase 1A, State Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said during a Wednesday virtual meeting that local officials.

Dr. Levine said about half of the phase 1A population has been vaccinated with at least the first dose of the vaccine, and health care facilities are urged not to waste vaccine, but rather to begin giving leftover vaccine from phase 1A to those in phase 1B.

Phase 1A patients who are vaccinated first include all healthcare personnel like, emergency medical service personnel, nurses and nursing assistants, physicians, dentists and dental hygienists, chiropractors, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists and technicians, as well as those who are support or clinical personnel in school or correctional settings.

In addition, long-term care facility residents also are vaccinated in this phase.

Phase B includes food and agricultural workers, postal service workers, grocery story workers, education workers, public transportation workers, manufacturing workers, correctional officers and individuals caring for children or adults in day care programs.

People in those brackets are able to schedule a vaccine shot through their doctor or local hospital. UPMC Susquehanna has made its own website for locals to register for vaccinations.

Levine said the state does not know how much vaccine will be allocated to the state until the Friday before distribution. With that, the vaccination allocation comes sporadically throughout the week and not all on one day, she said.

Each phase adds more age groups with high risk conditions to the list as well as service workers in additional industries.

Those aged 65 to 74 and those aged 16 to 64 with high risk conditions are allowed to be vaccinated in phase 1C alongside more essential workers like those in federal, state and local governments, those in communications or media, public safety and public health workers and more.

Bank tellers, information technology, housing construction, food service, water and wastewater workers are also able to be vaccinated within this phase.

Eventually the world will be able to reside in phase two where the first two vaccinations, Pfizer and Moderna, will be accessible to the general public.

Those who are 16 and 17 are able to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccination.

For more information on the phasing process, visit https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Vaccine.aspx.

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