Alison Beam

Acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam speaks during a recent virtual briefing on COVID-19 masking.

The state Department of Health will launch a text messaging campaign next week to remind the partially vaccinated against COVID-19 to get the required second dose.

There are about 250,000 Pennsylvanians who never went for their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, said Alison Beam, the state’s acting health secretary.

“Now is the time to be vaccinated,” Beam said, reminding the public that the Delta variant of the virus is spreading across the nation, mostly among the unvaccinated.

She said Pennsylvania is making progress in the vaccination effort, with 20,478 doses administered in the state Wednesday.

Acting Physician General Denise Johnson said the vaccine deniers need to be better educated about the safety of the shots and protection they offer.

When asked about claims that herd immunity has been reached because of the number of people who have recovered from the disease, Johnson said that belief is not true. She said some people who have recovered from the virus have no protection against COVID-19.

Beam said 99% of COVID-19 deaths in the state involved those who were not vaccinated. In Pennsylvania, 52% of the population is fully vaccinated, she said.

The number of new statewide virus cases continued Thursday to rise, with 1,088 announced that morning. The unvaccinated make up 97% of the new cases, Beam said.

There were seven new statewide deaths, none of which involved residents of Washington, Greene or Fayette counties.

There were 19 new cases reported in Washington County, taking the cumulative pandemic total to 18,113. There were two new cases added to Greene’s total of 3,385. There were six new cases in Fayette, where 13,501 residents have tested positive for the virus.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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