All Pennsylvania residents 16 and older are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. However, herd immunity will not be reached until 80% of the community is vaccinated.
Erie County officials say the community is heading in the right direction. They recommend residents talk to a vaccine provider and book an appointment.
County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper is encouraging those 16 and older to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by scheduling one with one of the three local hospitals.
“Call, get on the list, whether it be during the weekday or weekend and find a time that works for you. I encourage people to go get the vaccine. The Moderna and the Pfizer are the two vaccines being administered in Erie County right now and they are very safe vaccines.” Dahlkemper said.
Dahlkemper says Erie County residents can do better. She says more people receiving vaccines will help the community return to a sense of normalcy.
“Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends, talk to families that have gotten the vaccine and ask them about their experience. I think you’ll be assured, as well as researching, that this is a safe vaccine and it’s something we need to do, the virus is what’s dangerous.” Dahlkemper said.
Dr. Howard Nadworny, Erie County COVID-19 Advisor, agrees. He says the virus is dangerous and it could be another couple of months before the community is more protected.
“We’re going to need between 75 to 85% of people that need to be vaccinated or immune and it may well take us until the end of the summer or fall to get there.” Dr. Nadworny said.
According to Dr. Nadworny, another contributing factor is COVID-19 testing. He says testing efforts must continue.
“We need to make sure that the rate of community spread is much less, I think that will be the best clue is we’re seeing many fewer cases and we’re testing a lot of people and finding very little, then we’ll know that we’re reaching that herd immunity threshold.” Dr. Nadworny said.
Over six million vaccinations have been administered across the commonwealth.