HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania might've come out of the vaccine rollout gate with a bumpy start, but the state Health Department says we are slowly, but steadily, improving.
The state is now 12th in the nation for the percentage of people who have gotten the first dose of the vaccine. That's much better than where we were in January, when Pennsylvania sat in 41st place.
More good news - the state will get more than 440,000 new doses of vaccine from the federal government this week.
"That is the highest weekly allocation since vaccine became available in December," says Lindsey Mauldin, Department of Health Senior Advisor on COVID-19 Response.
Health officials say despite that good news, there's bad news too. Pennsylvania COVID-19 case numbers are going back up. Cases started to rise again in mid-March. They went from about 2,600 a day at the beginning of March, to an average of more than 4,000 a day just one month later.
The rise in cases is being blamed on everything from the new UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, which seems to affect younger people, to a general pandemic fatigue, to spring breakers not social distancing.
Whatever the reason, health officials say the more vaccines they get, the better, and the closer the state moves to the April 19 date, where everybody, 16 and older, will be eligible for a vaccine.
However, that date comes with a caveat.
"Remember that eligibility does not mean immediate vaccination. It means that you are eligible to schedule your appointment from a local provider," Mauldin says.
There are still many hurdles left to clear, the state health department says, and while not all numbers are good, they agree that when it comes to some numbers, like vaccines, we are trending in the right direction.