Pennsylvania is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the rollout to include people age 65 and over as well as younger people with serious health conditions that put them at higher risk. State health officials made the announcement Tuesday.
Conditions that qualify residents for the vaccine include cancer, diabetes, obesity, COPD, certain heart conditions and immune deficiencies, sickle cell disease, pregnancy and being a smoker.
The state Department of Health set up a website with a quiz residents can take to see if they're now eligible and to find a vaccine provider.
The Health Department says its updated coronavirus vaccine plan tracks recommendations from the federal government, but it's uncertain how the expanded rollout will work given the slow pace of vaccinations so far and limitations on supplies.
Health Department spokeswoman April Hutcheson said health care workers who haven’t gotten vaccinated yet should also use that website.
“So that’s why we’re also encouraging those especially non-affiliated health care providers to go to the map, reach out to the contacts on the map, and schedule those appointments right now to make sure you get vaccinated,” Hutcheson said.
More than 68,000 Pennsylvanians have gotten both of their vaccines. More than 340,000 have gotten a single dose.
The major expansion comes amid word that the state’s top health official, Dr. Rachel Levine, is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be assistant secretary of health.