PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cases of COVID-19 are down slightly in our area, but that could be from a lag in testing. Officials are expecting a post-holiday surge.

Now the big emphasis is on vaccinations, which are still being limited to health care workers and congregate facilities.

Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have vaccinated over 100,000 people and now the process is expected to expand significantly. But both states look very different right now in terms of plans to roll out the vaccine to more people.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy watched as University Hospital emergency nurse Maritza Beniquez received her second dose of COVID vaccine, along with other frontline health care workers.

“Making them the first New Jerseyans to be fully vaccinated, that was a pretty cool moment,” said Murphy.

While the vaccine is currently limited to health care workers and people in nursing homes, New Jersey has a portal where people can register to get vaccinated when it’s their turn. That will happen at six mega-sites, which include the Moorestown Mall and the Atlantic City Convention Center.

“Two mega-sites will open this Friday — one in Morris County and one in Gloucester County,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

In Pennsylvania, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said vaccine plans beyond what’s currently happening with the 1-A group are still being formulated.

“Many other states have released details on the next round of vaccinations. Why does Pennsylvania appear to be so far behind on this?” asked CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl

“I wouldn’t say that we’re far behind, again 1-A just started several weeks ago. I can’t tell you when B will start, it’ll totally depend on how much vaccine we get,” Dr. Levine said. “I promise you we will be ready, we’ll have all the resources that we need and we’ll have all the plans we need to start that, but we’re not there yet.”

Dr. Levine said a system is being established where people would sign up to get an appointment for the vaccine, which is what is already happening in other states.

“It’ll be really important not to have large groups of people waiting in line to get the vaccines. We’re going to have a system set up when we’re there to accomplish that,” Dr. Levine said.

She also said it would be months before the general public has access to the vaccine and she reminded people that a stay-at-home advisory is still in place in Pennsylvania, even though state restrictions were eased Monday.

Both she and Gov. Murphy said masks and social distancing will be critical for months.


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Stephanie Stahl