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State announces COVID-19 vaccination plans

The Department of Health released its fourth version of its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — On Jan. 8, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the fourth version of their COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The update details how the state is working to ensure safe and swift implementation.

The first shipments of the vaccine are being given to healthcare workers and people working and residing in the state's long-term care facilities. This effort continues. 

Getting Pennsylvanians vaccinated is an essential step in reducing the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. 

RELATED: COVID-19 update: Total cases surpass 700,000 statewide

The Department of Health is guiding the vaccine's distribution and administration in 66 out of the 67 counties in the state. Philadelphia County receives independent federal funding, vaccine allotment, and is establishing its own COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The state's vaccination plan follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and is continuously being updated. 

Currently, Pennsylvania is in Phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccination plan. The plan includes Phase 1B, Phase 1C, and Phase 2. 

Phase 1B includes people 75 and older, people with significant health issues, essential workers such as first responders and grocery store workers.

Phase 1C includes people ages 65-74, those with high-risk conditions, pregnant women, and other essential workers not included in previous phases. 

When more of the COVID-19 vaccine is available, anyone 16 and older can be vaccinated. 

"It will take several months before there is a vaccine available for everyone, we have said that sometimes maybe by late spring, certainly by the summer we'll be able to go onto phase 2 or the general public. There are many variables that will influence that most importantly how much vaccine we get," said Dr. Levine.

To see the state's current vaccination efforts and those included in each phase, you can check out the Department of Health's page.

To read the state's entire interim vaccination plan, you can read that here.