Pennsylvania and L.A. Move Up Dates for Vaccine Eligibility

The state of Pennsylvania and the city of Los Angeles this week accelerate their plans for broader approval of Covid-19 vaccines as the U.S. nears universal approval for adults.

Most states and US territories have already extended access to those over the age of 16. Others, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington state, have plans for universal adult access in the next few days. All states are expected to be there by Monday, a deadline set by President Biden.

Some states have local eligibility differences, including Illinois, where Chicago didn’t join a statewide expansion that began Monday.

California as a whole has set Thursday as the date, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday that all residents 16 and over in his city, the second largest in the country, would be eligible two days earlier. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf said Monday that all adults there would be eligible on Tuesday, six days earlier than previously planned.

“We need to further accelerate the introduction of the vaccine, especially as the number of cases and hospitalization rates have increased,” Wolf said in a statement.

The extended authorization did not always bring immediate access. The demand for vaccinations continues to outpace supply in much of the country, and people are striving to book tight appointments as soon as they become available. And the supply of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine will be extremely limited until federal regulators approve production at a Baltimore manufacturing facility with a pattern of quality control errors, the White House pandemic response coordinator said Friday.

“We ask for your patience as we continue to expand our operations, receive more doses, and enter this new phase of our campaign to end the pandemic,” Garcetti said.

More than 120 million people – or more than a third of the US population – have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The nation administers an average of 3.2 million doses per day.

Two of the three vaccines approved for use in the United States – those made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are approved for use in adults. The third from Pfizer-BioNTech is approved for use by people aged 16 and over. The company would like to expand this area to young people between the ages of 12 and 15. No vaccine has yet been approved for use in younger children.

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