On January 8, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (“DOH”) announced its COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan, Version 4.0 (the “Plan”).  The Plan follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”).  Categorized as “interim,” DOH intends to continuously make updates to the Plan to reflect the latest recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other guidance available, as well as any feedback received.

This version of the Plan includes four phases: 1A, 1B, 1C and 2, with each phase outlining those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.  The newly created Phase 1C includes federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff. Although many have welcomed the recognition of government officials and employees, some members of the Pennsylvania legislature have expressed their displeasure, noting that the Plan’s inclusion of elected and administrative officials goes beyond the CDC recommendation.  As such, opponents argue that statewide elected officials, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and appointed state officials should be removed from Phase 1C.

Although there is no precise date when Phase 1C will begin, Phase 1A is already well underway, with more than 280,000 Pennsylvanians having received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  According to Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, be on the lookout for more information from DOH, as the Commonwealth anticipates moving statewide into 1B soon.

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC will continue to monitor any updates to the Plan and its impact on local governments.  For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and the Commonwealth’s vaccine plan, visit https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Vaccine.aspx#dashboard.