(WTAJ) — As the rate of COVID-19 cases across the state remains steady, the rate of vaccine distribution is increasing and more residents are now eligible to receive it.
While we’re still in the first phase, the department of health is gearing up to begin phase 1B.
The Department of Health didn’t give an exact timeframe when phase 1B will begin but said it could be soon.
When asked how the distribution process will work for phase 1B there was little information.
“Certainly touch base with their doctor if they have questions about the vaccines and then I would sit tight as we relay that information as we are able to roll out that program,” secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine said.
But in waiting for phase B, some excess doses have already been given to those in that category to ensure it doesn’t expire.
“We absolutely don’t want to waste any vaccine we want to put the vaccine into arms so if any of our providers don’t have someone in 1A but they have someone in 1B vaccinate them and we will be putting out the guidance of that soon,” Levine said.
As a reminder phase 1B is for first responders, critical workers, and people with high-risk conditions. This includes people who are age 75 and older, teachers, and grocery store workers.
Levine said she thinks the vaccination pace will continue to increase, with the Biden administration looking to make changes to the distribution process. The biggest change, not holding back vaccines for second doses.
“It will be very important that the supply chain is robust and substantiated to make sure those second doses will be there when they are necessary but when they follow through on that will increase the amount of vaccine we have and we will make sure that vaccine rolls out,” Levine said.
Levine said it will still take several months to see the vaccine’s effect on case levels in the commonwealth and current restrictions are likely to stay in place for that time.
Levine said the state expects to get 100 million dollars from federal funding for vaccination efforts.
The Department of Health released a new map to their website today to help health care providers not affiliated with a hospital or health system to get vaccinated.