LONG POND, Pa. - On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of people were able to get shots at a mass vaccination site run by Lehigh Valley Health Network at Pocono Raceway.

"We've always said it's a race in getting people vaccinated versus increase in infection, viral variants," said Dr. Alex Benjamin, Chief of Infection Control.

That race has perhaps even more urgency, as Pennsylvania and New Jersey are now two of five states accounting for nearly half of all the nation's new cases of the virus.

"Having these events is the fast way to make sure people can have access to vaccine," Benjamin said.

Wednesday's mass clinic was the first time that there were unfilled appointments at one of the network's mass clinics.

"A couple of weeks ago, we were really struggling for vaccine and to meet demand," Benjamin said.

Benjamin credits better vaccine availability.

"I think that's what's happening," Benjamin said. "I don't think it's about hesitancy, but more opportunity for patients to get vaccine."

St. Luke's University Health Network also says getting a vaccine appointment is becoming easier, but says demand still exceeds supply. It expects a big rush of appointments once eligibility opens up to more people.

Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam visited one of its clinics Wednesday afternoon.

"We still need more vaccine in Pennsylvania, so supply has not at all met demand throughout Pennsylvania," Beam said.

This week Pennsylvania got its largest shipment of vaccine to date as the state moved to another phase of eligibility Monday.

"With all that, the hesitancy is becoming our focus. We are getting to the point where folks have an appointment accessible to them, but they may have those reservations," Beam said.

Beam said the full scope of that will become clearer as supply increases.

Eligibility opens up to all adults on April 19.

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