Covid-19 vaccination

WPSU’s Health Minute is a collaboration with Penn State’s College of Nursing.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, in cooperation with local health care systems, has started distributing the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts believe the vaccine may help keep people from getting seriously ill, even if they get COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated may also help protect those around you, especially those who may be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. 

Epidemiologist Dr. Nita Bharti
Nita Bharti

The COVID-19 vaccine is slowly rolling out across the country. Some people still have concerns about these new vaccines and their safety.

We had epidemiologist Nita Bharti answer some of those questions. Dr. Bharti is an Assistant Professor of Biology in the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State. She’s been educating the community about COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Penny Cracas, with the Chester County, Pa., Health Department, fills a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 29, 2020.
Matt Slocum / AP Photo

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.

A mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination truck
Photo courtesy of Primary Health Network

 

As the general public awaits COVID-19 vaccination across the country and in Pennsylvania, questions remain about how vaccines will reach rural communities and how accepting of the remedy rural residents will be. 

Penn Medicine's frontline workers receive the first round of COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 16, 2020.
Penn Medicine

After weeks of record high coronavirus case numbers, the pandemic in Pennsylvania is finally starting to ebb — but the commonwealth isn’t out of the woods yet.

Currently, there are 5,529 people hospitalized in Pennsylvania with COVID-19, nearly double the peak last spring. The statewide percent positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 15%. But both of those numbers are now trending down, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced Monday.