PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia plans to expand vaccine eligibility in alignment with the rest of the state and country.
The city said all adults 16 and older will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment starting April 19. However, city officials are asking young people to hold off until more vulnerable residents have gotten the shot.
Mayor Jim Kenney said some individuals who fall under Phase 1c of vaccine distribution are currently eligible, including sanitation and janitorial, utility, and postal and delivery workers.
On April 12, Phase 1c will expand to include people in higher education, finance, transportation, construction, IT, media, public health, caregiving, landscaping, government, and social services.
The city also announced 700 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said COVID-19 is most deadly in people 65 and older, so the city has asked the roughly 240 vaccine providers to make them a priority in the hopes that they all get vaccinated before the general population joins the line.
“I imagine it will be difficult for people at first to get an appointment, so that’s why I am saying if you’re young and healthy ... maybe you should wait a little bit and let other people who are a little bit older get vaccinated first and take your turn later,” he advised.
At least 25% of city residents have had one shot, and 14% are fully vaccinated, but cases continue to rise, along with positivity rates and hospitalizations. As a result, Farley said the city will not meet the state’s looser indoor dining standards but will stay at 50% capacity.
The city did slightly increase capacity at the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park. And, it is taking a small step toward bringing back office workers — moving from requiring people to work from home, if possible, to simply encouraging them to do so, but still maintaining two workers per 1,000 square feet.
Pennsylvania announced last week it would make all adults eligible on April 19. New Jersey followed on Monday. Philadelphia’s vaccine allocation comes from the federal government and is separate from the rest of the state.
President Joe Biden announced Tuesday afternoon that he is moving his deadline up two weeks to make all adults eligible for the vaccine, shifting from May 1 to April 19.
Overall, more than 500,000 Philadelphians received their first shot, and more than 300,000 are fully vaccinated. Farley said all adults who want a shot should be able to get one by the end of June.
CORRECTION: The city's dashboard shows 25% have head at least one shot, and 14% have been fully vaccinated.