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Pennsylvania Health Secretary Says Residents May Be Wearing Masks ‘To The End Of 2021

A top medical authority in Pennsylvania said residents could be wearing masks through “the end of 2021” as coronavirus cases accelerate, according to a Thursday report.

State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s comments were based on her speculation that vaccinations will likely arrive in short supply at first to be administered to essential personnel like public servants and healthcare workers, according to Penn Live.

Levine was not able to provide a timeline of when immunizations would be available in the state, but insisted a vaccine will be administered in two doses, the local outlet reported.

“We anticipate we’re going to be rolling this out through the winter and then into the spring and into the summer,” Levine told Penn Live. “It could take a significant amount of time to immunize everyone in Pennsylvania. I anticipate we’re going to be wearing masks well into 2021, maybe to the end of 2021.”

The state plans to vaccinate essential personnel first, followed by high-risk individuals. The general public will be last on the list, the health authority told the local outlet. Pennsylvania has a federally-approved plan to distribute potential immunizations, Penn Live reported.

Pfizer and Moderna, two leading medical companies, have produced potential vaccines with greater than 90% effectiveness in testing, according to the Washington Post.

President Donald Trump’s administration has commissioned Operation Warp Speed to distribute over 300 million doses of the immunizations to the American public, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) webpage.

Levine said the name “Operation Warp Speed” is making the public uneasy and leading to the politicization of a health emergency, according to the local outlet.

“I feel very comfortable with this process,” she told Penn Live. “I feel comfortable with the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines and I’ll encourage everyone in the target groups, as we roll it out, to get the vaccine and forget the pithy name.”

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