School worker vaccination program gets underway in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s program to vaccinate teachers and other school workers, starting in the youngest grades, immunized more than 6,500 people in its first days, officials said Friday.

The Wolf administration said 10 of the school clinics, organized by intermediate units, are up and running. Ten more were expected to become operational on Friday and the other eight should begin over the coming weekend.

In this first round, the clinics are administering the state’s allocation of single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines to school employees in kindergarten through third grade, as well as those working with students with disabilities and students learning to speak English.

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The current expectation is to vaccinate all school workers by the end of March.

The first round should cover about 94,000 people, officials said. About 240,000 K-12 education employees in Pennsylvania responded to a survey to gauge demand for the vaccine.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director Randy Padfield said the state expects to get more Johnson & Johnson vaccines by the end of March, and those should be more than enough to complete school worker vaccinations.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf was expected to announce other elements of the state’s vaccination effort at a news conference later Friday with lawmakers on the COVID-19 vaccine task force.



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