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February 10, 2021

New Pa. website alerts residents when they're eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

Philly residents must use a separate website set up by the city to receive notifications

A new online tool launched by the Pennsylvania Department of Health aims to help residents better understand when they will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. 

Residents can use the state's "Your Turn" website to determine whether they meet the state's eligibility requirements. Those who are eligible will receive instructions on how to find a vaccine provider. People who are not eligible can enter their contact information to be notified when they become eligible. 

Using the form does not constitute registration, state health officials specified Tuesday. Users will have to make their own vaccine appointments.

Philadelphia residents cannot use the tool because the city is its own vaccine jurisdiction. The city has its own website where residents can sign up to be notified when they become eligible. 

Though demand for coronavirus shots is high, acting Health Secretary Alison Beam urged residents not to sign up for appointments until they become eligible. 

"We are working to vaccinate everyone in Pennsylvania who wishes to receive a vaccination," Beam said. "While you are waiting for your turn to receive a vaccine, you can visit the provider map to view vaccine providers around you, but remember, please do not register with a vaccine provider until it is your turn."

The "Your Turn" tool is not a centralized vaccination registration system. Though other states have created centralized systems to help residents find and schedule appointments, Pennsylvania has not.  

"We’re dealing with a limited supply of vaccine coming into Pennsylvania," Lindsey Mauldin, a senior adviser at the Department of Health, said during a media briefing, according to TribuneLive. "This is a problem that’s happening all over the country. A centralized registration wouldn't help with that issue."

The state is prioritizing vaccinations based on recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pennsylvania is in Phase 1A of its vaccination rollout. Health care workers, long-term care facility residents, seniors and people ages 16 to 64 with certain medical conditions are eligible. 

A specific timetable for advancing to Phase 1B has not been set. That stage will include people in congregate care settings, first responders, correctional officers and various front-line workers. 

More than 1 million state residents have received at least their first doses, according to the state's vaccine dashboard. More than 300,000 have received both shots. The state has more than 12 million residents. 

People without internet access who want to be notified when they become eligible can call (877) 724-3258 for support.

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