More than 112,500 state educators vaccinated in March, Wolf says

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

More than 112,500 Pennsylvania teachers and school staff were vaccinated for COVID-19 in the past three weeks, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday.

In a news release on the governor's website, Wolf said his initiative to grant all state educators access to the vaccine by the end of March was completed ahead of schedule. According to the website, everyone in Pennsylvania will be eligible to receive the vaccine by April 19. 

Wolf announced a plan March 3 to distribute the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine directly to state school employees. Vaccinations started almost immediately, with thousands of educators receiving the vaccine each day at intermediate units across Pennsylvania. 

More:Pennsylvania to make all adults vaccine eligible by April 19

More:Fully vaccinated can travel again, says new CDC guidance

“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to this pandemic, and with the completion of this special initiative, we are one step closer to the end of that tunnel," Wolf said in the news release. "That is something for everyone in the commonwealth to celebrate.”

More than 2,300 York County school employees were vaccinated through the initiative, though the true number of employees vaccinated is likely much higher. Four of York County's 16 school districts did not respond to The York Dispatch's requests for the number of employees that received vaccinations, and several others said their district did not keep track of how many vaccines were distributed. 

More:More than 2,300 York County school employees have received COVID-19 vaccine

An official with Lincoln Intermediate Unit No. 12, the facility where most York County districts sent employees for their vaccinations, said the unit had administered about 5,800 vaccines through the initiative as of March 24. 

The initiative was introduced as a way to help schools reopen for more in-person instruction. Most York County schools were already open for in-person instruction, but after teachers were vaccinated, several districts, including York Suburban and York City, considered reopening schools further. 

More:York Suburban to reopen elementary, middle schools, keep high school hybrid

Most students are still not eligible to be vaccinated yet. Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesperson Kendall Alexander said state health officials strongly recommend all Pennsylvanians receive the vaccine, but they don't immediately anticipate requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for K-12 students. 

The federal government has not yet approved any vaccines for children younger than 16.