Workers at state-run health care facilities and prisons must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or test weekly beginning Sept. 7, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday.
The new policy will impact about 25,000 state employees, the administration said. A separate incentive program launching Oct. 1 will offer all other workers under the governor’s jurisdiction a day off in exchange for becoming vaccinated.
Wolf said boosting the statewide vaccination rate to 70% remains crucial as the delta variant spreads across the country and causes a worrying rise in cases.
“We’re not in the hotspot, but we have no reason to be complacent,” he said during a news conference Tuesday. “We need to do this kind of thing to get more people to do the right thing.”
The administration said Pennsylvania, by all metrics, has been one of the most successful in terms of vaccinating its 12.8 million residents. Some 63.8% of adults are fully immunized, state data shows, including 99% of seniors age 65 and older. The state ranks fifth nationwide for total doses administered.
“The point is today that as good as we are doing, as well as we are doing, it’s not good enough,” Wolf said, “As good as it is, this is not where we want to be.”