COVID-19 vaccine tracker for Philly and Pa.: Daily progress on doses and herd immunity

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The COVID-19 vaccines are among the fastest treatments ever developed, with a sometimes decade-long process achieved within a single year. The urgency now shifts to getting shots in people’s arms.

Lack of federal coordination, combined with miscommunication about how many doses are going out — or how many even exist — led to early stumbles, and confusion abounds.

Left to develop their own distribution plans, state health departments have adopted varying guidelines and practices for who is eligible and how they can get inoculated.

In all cases, the rollout is happening in phases, with eligibility determined by how often you come into close contact with COVID-positive people and how at-risk you are for complications. Philadelphia is one of just five U.S. cities that gets vaccine directly from the feds, so the city’s plans are separate and slightly different from those introduced by Pennsylvania.

These charts show the pace of vaccine rollout on a city and state level, and track progress toward herd immunity. They’ll update almost daily, so bookmark this page and check back often.

We don’t need every single person to get vaccinated to stop the pandemic.

It will be considered beaten back when enough communities achieve what’s called “herd immunity.” That happens when enough people are resistant to infection that the coronavirus can’t spread exponentially.

(Tip: When viewing on mobile, turn your phone sideways to see the whole chart.)

Exactly what percentage of the population it takes to reach this milestone varies from disease to disease. Scientists originally guessed the figure for COVID-19 might be 70%, but it’s now thought to be higher, perhaps 85% or above.

When considering percent population, all of these charts use the latest figures published by the U.S. Census, which are currently from 2019 (Philly; Pa.).

At the city and state level, health officials say the major barrier to getting more shots in arms is the limit on how many doses they’re sent each week — plus they aren’t being told how many doses they’ll get in the future, curtailing planning.

Also limiting the rollout at first: COVID vaccines first became available during the winter holidays — you can see the dips caused by Christmas and New Year’s in the charts below.

(Tip: When viewing on mobile, turn your phone sideways to see the whole chart.)

In Philly and throughout Pa., the first places authorized to give shots were hospitals, which began inoculating certain of their own workers. Federally certified health clinics then started vaccinating their staffs. Pharmacy chain Rite-Aid is offering shots to unaffiliated health care workers, while Walgreens and CVS have been giving doses at nursing homes.

There haven’t been many mass vaccination clinics in Pennsylvania — though President-elect Biden said he’ll deploy FEMA to help set them up.

Though the shots are being paid for by the federal government — so no resident should have to pay out of pocket — providers can still charge your insurance an administrative fee.

Even if people are cutting down on leisure travel, commuting for work means Philadelphians don’t always stay in Philly and Pennsylvanians often cross state borders.

So getting as many people vaccinated as possible is a good move, no matter how it figures into the local herd immunity calculation. These charts track cumulative partial and full vaccinations in the city and commonwealth.

(Tip: When viewing on mobile, turn your phone sideways to see the whole chart.)


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