Harrisburg, PA – An orderly, planned distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is a priority of the Wolf Administration and Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine shared an update on the vaccine, stressing its safety and efficacy.
They were joined at a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update by the director of Testing and Contact Tracing for the state, Michael Huff; and Dr. Cynthia Chuang, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
“I am here to tell you that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe to use, and very good at protecting people who are vaccinated,” Gov. Wolf said. “If you hear a rumor about COVID-19 from a friend, or see something online that concerns you, take a few minutes to verify the information before you get too worried. Five minutes of fact checking can save you and your loved ones a lot of worry.”
Dr. Levine provided an update on the number of vaccines distributed by the federal government in the commonwealth. That number is reaching one million as the state is in its fifth week of receipt of vaccine.
“Our mission to immunize any Pennsylvanian who wants a vaccine continues,” Dr. Levine said. “The Federal Pharmacy Partnership has vaccination clinics at 159 skilled nursing facilities this week. Vaccine providers have administered vaccine to a total of 311,477 people, including 251,133 people who have received their first dose and 30,172 who have received two doses and are considered fully vaccinated.”
Information on the vaccine, including the state’s vaccine plan, COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, a vaccine provider map and vaccine distribution data can be found here.
Dr. Chuang discussed the safety of the vaccine from the perspective of a physician involved in the process of vaccinating health care workers, dispelling myths such as that the vaccine can’t be safe because it was developed so quickly.
“Rigorous clinical trials have demonstrated that the COVID vaccines are highly effective and safe,” said Dr. Cynthia Chuang, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “I’m looking forward to when my patients can be offered the vaccine.”
Dir. Huff provided an update on the state’s testing, stating, “Robust COVID-19 testing continues in Pennsylvania. To date, nearly 9 Million test results have been received in Pennsylvania. Our COVID-19 testing provider continues to offer regional testing in five counties each week as well as our over 900 testing sites throughout the commonwealth.”
Last week, the regional testing sites were located in Crawford, Dauphin, Lehigh, Somerset and Union counties, and tested approximately 6,700 individuals. This week, the regional testing sites are in Bradford, Clarion, Fulton, Lancaster, and Pike counties, and will conclude on Saturday.
“You can always find accurate, up-to-date information about testing, vaccine safety and distribution on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website,” Gov. Wolf said. “Or through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool in our fight against COVID-19, but they will only be an effective tool if Pennsylvanians get vaccinated, and we should get vaccinated – because these vaccines are both safe to use and highly effective.”