While there is no timetable for the emergency release of a COVID-19 vaccine, the first doses of it in Pennsylvania will be limited to essential employees, such as health-care workers, and the vulnerable.
State Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Thursday that the vaccine will not be mandatory on a day when the state shattered another record for the highest daily increase in cases of the virus.
“It’s not going to be a magical cure for the virus,” Levine said, referring to a vaccine that is under development by six companies.
She said it will be similar to a flu shot in that it will prevent some people from getting sick and cause others to experience less-severe symptoms. The vaccine will not be available to the general public until the third phase of its release, she said.
The virus has killed 8,937 Pennsylvanians since March after 47 new deaths statewide were announced Thursday, three of which occurred in Washington County. There were no new virus deaths announced in Greene, Fayette or Allegheny counties.
The state announced 2,900 new virus cases, the highest single-day increase to date.
The new cases shot up by 65 in Washington County, taking its total to 2,346. It was among the highest one-day increase in cases since the pandemic was noticed in Pennsylvania in March. Greene County added 14 new cases to its total of 307. Fayette County added 20 new cases, taking its total to 1,144.