As of Tuesday, all Pennsylvanian adults will be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.
Previously, the date for Phase 2, or general vaccine eligibility, had been set for Monday, April 19, a week from today.
“We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine rollout, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “Therefore, just as President Biden has brought forward universal adult access to vaccines from May 1 to April 19, we are moving Pennsylvania’s timeline of universal adult access to April 13.”
“This further-accelerated plan will move us much closer to the goal of vaccinating Pennsylvanians as quickly and equitably as possible,” Wolf said.
The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and two-shot Moderna vaccine are approved for individuals age 18 and up. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for individuals age 16 and up.
Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said accelerating Phase 2 will enable earlier vaccination for many people — among other things, giving college students a better chance of completing both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine before then end of the academic year.
"It also means simpler, streamlined operations for vaccine providers that no longer need to check eligibility," she said.
Earlier in the vaccine rollout, the state was criticized for broadening Phase 1A eligibility to all Pennsylvanians over age 65 when supplies were still low. Seniors with limited computer skills struggled to make appointments; overburdened online appointment portals crashed and call centers' phone lines were jammed.
In recent days, however, supplies have increased dramatically, to the point that providers have begun filling in available appointments with individuals from phases not yet opened.
Pennsylvania opened Phase 1C this morning: It includes essential workers in various sectors, such as transportation, construction, energy and government.
According to the state's vaccine dashboard, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians are partly vaccinated and 2.4 million are fully vaccinated. In Lancaster County, 81,205 individuals are partly vaccinated, and 95,342 million fully vaccinated.