Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary, warned that early supplies of any vaccines that receive government approval will likely be in short supply at first – with health care workers, first responders and people at highest risk expected to be treated first.
That means most Pennsylvania residents can expect to be wearing masks “well into 2021, maybe to the end of 2021,” Levine said, according to PennLive.com.
Levine’s remarks came amid word that drug makers Pfizer and Moderna were both preparing – likely Friday — to seek emergency approval of their vaccines, which officials have said show effectiveness rates of higher than 90%.
If approved, the vaccines would start to become available in the coming weeks.
“We anticipate we’re going to be rolling this out through the winter and then into the spring and into the summer,” Levine said, according to PennLive.com, adding, “It could take a significant amount of time to immunize everyone in Pennsylvania.”
Levine’s comments came two days after Pennsylvania officials announced they planned to take additional steps to address a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, including requiring masks to be worn indoors with limited exceptions.
In addition, starting Friday, anyone who enters Pennsylvania must be tested at least 72 hours before arrival, and if they can or do not get a test, they must quarantine for 14 days. The order does not apply to people who commute to neighboring states for work or health care, officials said, and will be largely self-enforced.
As of early Friday, Pennsylvania had recorded more than 294,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 9,500 deaths, with 2.9 million residents tested and positivity rate of 9.9%, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this story.