While there is no timetable for the emergency release of a COVID-19 vaccine, the first doses of it in Pennsylvania will be limited to essential employees, such as health-care workers, and the vulnerable.

State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said on Nov. 5 that the vaccine will not be mandatory on a day when the state shattered another record for the highest daily increase in cases of the virus.

“It’s not going to be a magical cure for the virus,” Levine said, referring to a vaccine that is under development by six companies.

She said it will be similar to a flu shot in that it will prevent some people from getting sick and cause others to experience less-severe symptoms. The vaccine will not be available to the general public until the third phase of its release, she said.

As of Nov. 6, the virus has reportedly killed 8,937 Pennsylvanians since March.

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