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Vaccinations grow in Pennsylvania; 2nd vaccine arriving soon

December 21, 2020 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — More than 17,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to health care workers at Pennsylvania hospitals, the state health secretary said Monday, as hospitals remain stressed by coronavirus patient loads and a second vaccine from Moderna is expected to arrive this week.

The Health Department said 109 hospitals have thus far received doses of the first vaccine, from Pfizer, with another approximately 30,000 doses just arrived Monday.

In addition, at least 51 hospitals in the state are slated to start receiving some of the 198,000 doses of the newly approved Moderna vaccine this week, the department said.

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The first phase of the state’s vaccination plan — immunizing health care personnel, first responders, critical workers and people with high-risk conditions — could take several months, the state says.

As part of a federal partnership, CVS and Walgreens next week will start on-site vaccination services for residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities across Pennsylvania, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. Those facilities will receive the Pfizer vaccine, she said.

In the meantime, Levine said even people who are receiving the vaccine should continue to observe efforts to stem the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask and adhering to social-distancing protocols.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Dec. 12 imposed a series of shutdowns through Jan. 4, including youth sports and other extracurricular activities, gyms, theaters and casinos, and indoor dining at restaurants amid rising infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths.

The shutdown orders have drawn lawsuits, some local officials saying they won’t enforce the orders, and a growing list of business owners vowing to defy the orders and stay open.

The daily load of positive cases has declined since Wolf imposed the restrictions, although hospitalizations have continued to rise.