Is Pennsylvania prepared to meet President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination goals?

PITTSBURGH — A state Representative who sits on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force said there will be an announcement made on Wednesday about how and when the state will move forward with the vaccine distribution process. There will be new information about the timeline and the logistics, including if or when the state will move into the next phase or the phases will go away.

“The announcement will actually put a timeline on the dates we intend on moving to, really all the phases, moving forward. It will outline when we are moving to 1B, 1C and when we are opening up to everyone,” said state Rep. Tim O’Neal.

The issue was discussed Tuesday by the task force. Officials said the process continues to depend on the vaccine supply and how quickly providers can get access to additional doses.

State leaders have been confident they can reach the goals set by Biden if the supply continues to increase, but it will be an uphill battle.

Biden announced on Monday that 90% of adults in the United States will have access to COVID-19 shots by April 19. He said the plans include vaccination sites within five miles of their homes.

>>STORY: 90% of US adults will be eligible for vaccination by April 19, Biden says

Beyond that, Biden’s goal is to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1.

As of Tuesday morning, just over 1.7 million people out of nearly 13 million in Pennsylvania are fully vaccinated. The state is still in Phase 1A of its vaccine rollout.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows there is “strong evidence” that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can prevent infections. The study was done on frontline workers, and the results indicate the risk of contracting COVID-19 dropped by 90% after getting a second and final dose and waiting two weeks. After getting a first dose and waiting two weeks, the risk dropped by 80%.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was not part of the CDC study.