Pennsylvanians could be getting a COVID-19 vaccine before the state rings in the new year.
Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced Thursday that if the federal approval process stays on track, Pennsylvania could have a vaccine “within the next month.”
“However, we do not know how quickly vaccines’ supply will meet the demand,” Levine said.
Levine’s announcement came on the same day the state shattered its daily record for COVID cases, reporting 7,126 new infections statewide. Lancaster County broke its one-day case record with 368 new confirmed and probable cases reported in the past 24 hours.
Once Pennsylvania receives the vaccine, state health officials will distribute it in three phases with health care, EMS and other essential workers getting a vaccine in the first deployment, Levine said.
“It is important to remember that when the vaccines are available, there may be a limited supply, which means not everyone will be able to get the vaccine right away,” Levine said.
While more than 200 vaccine candidates are under development, two — developed by Pfizer and Moderna — have made it through clinical trials and are seeking emergency authorization. The makers of both vaccines report a better than 90% efficacy.
But, 90% is not a 100%, Levine noted.
“It is important to remember again then that when the vaccine becomes available it will not be a cure, certainly not an immediate cure or end to the coronavirus pandemic,” Levine said.
In a separate meeting Thursday, local health officials apprised the Lancaster General Hospital Board of Trustees on the vaccines distribution, saying that subsequent deployments — based on updates from the state — could happen in the spring and summer.