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Those over 65 may be next on vaccination list

After a virtual hearing to discuss the roll out of vaccinations, the federal government has suggested moving those who are 65 and older, as well as those who have pre-existing conditions, into phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution process, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

Meanwhile, this has not been updated to the current phasing process on the DOH website as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The process is outlined in four different phases, 1A, 1B, 1C and 2, with Pennsylvania being in phase 1A. According to Levine and many other government and health care officials, the information surrounding the pandemic, the virus and vaccine distribution changes quickly and is easily adaptable.

Phase 1A patients who are able to be vaccinated 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 have the opportunity to be vaccinated in this phase.

With the suggestion from the federal government, this may be adapted to include individuals 65 and older and those who have pre-existing conditions.

Levine estimated the state will also transition into phase 1B soon, though she did not disclose a timeline as to how quickly the state can move to another phase.

Phase 1B includes the following: those who are older than 75, first responders, correctional officers and other workers who are working in congregate care, and workers in the following industries: food, agricultural, U.S. postal service, manufacturing, grocery store, public transportation and education.

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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