Times Chronicle & Public Spirit
Montco expands vaccine eligibility as COVID cases surge
NORRISTOWN >> As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to surge in Montgomery County, health officials announced that preregistration for the COVID-19 vaccine is now available for residents who qualify for Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination distribution program.
People in the following Phase 1B categories will be prioritized for appointments, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Health order:
• Law enforcement, which includes police, sheriffs and deputies, constables, corrections officers and staff, as well as probation and parole staff
• Firefighters, including career and volunteer firefighters
• Grocery Store workers, including all workers in supermarkets and grocery stores
• Food and agriculture workers, including all food processing company employees, including meat, poultry, dairy processing, fresh fruit and vegetable packing operations, food manufacturing, farmworkers, farm operators, and farm managers, including at agriculture operations.
Remaining Phase 1B categories include:
• People in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and persons receiving home and community-based services
• First responders
• Other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A
• U.S. Postal Service workers
• Manufacturing workers
• Education workers
• Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship
• Public transit workers
• Individuals caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs
The county continues to pre-register and vaccinate people in Phase 1A and officials estimated it will be a few weeks before vaccine appointments will be available for people who pre-register in Phase 1B.
Officials said demand for the vaccine remains high and they asked residents for their patience as the vaccine rollout continues. Eligibility does not equal availability, officials cautioned. Appointments will be released in accordance with supply.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported on Monday that 106,387 county residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, receiving either the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine or both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Another 169,779 county residents have received a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to state data.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to achieve optimum protection.
Appointments are required to receive the vaccine. All those eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A and Phase 1B can pre-register to receive the vaccine through the county Office of Public Health. The pre-registration link can be found at www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 under the green vaccination information button.
Residents who don’t have internet access can call the county’s COVID-19 hotline at (833) 875-3967 to connect with a volunteer who can assist them in pre-registering for a vaccine.