Vaccines are rolling out to more and more Americans each day. While appointments are still challenging to snag, President Joe Biden is pushing for state and local governments to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1. Local public health officials are moving fast to try to make that happen. Right now, the focus remains largely on making sure health-care workers and those who are most vulnerable get vaccinated.

Who currently qualifies? We’ve broken down who’s eligible for the vaccine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, all of which have different requirements.

How do you prove you’re eligible? Eligibility is based on the honor system. You won’t be asked to show a doctor’s note or step on a scale to prove your BMI. However, some clinics may require you to show proof of your age, and some sites in Philadelphia may ask for proof of residency.

» READ MORE: Use our lookup tool to find COVID-19 vaccine providers where you live


Philadelphia County has its own vaccination plan separate from Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, vaccines are currently available for people in Phase 1a and Phase 1b and Phase 1c. The city will open vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years or older starting April 19, and asks all residents interested in receiving the vaccine to fill out its COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form. The information will be used for the city to contact you after you become eligible. If you can’t complete the form, call 311 or 215-685-5488, or email City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley says the city will open eligibility to all adults no later than May 1.

Phase 1a eligibility:

  • Health-care workers: hospital staff; emergency medical services personnel; physicians; nurses; nurses aides; extended care providers (NP, PA); health-care facilities workers; health-care janitorial workers; health-care clerical staff; health-care security; health-care support staff (if in contact with patients); radiology and diagnostic services staff; laboratory staff (including people who conduct COVID-19 testing); COVID-19 vaccination and lab staff; morgue employees; emergency medical technicians; home health workers; health-professions students; outpatient clinics, FQHCs; unaffiliated health-care providers; prison health services staff; direct support professionals, including anyone who provides face-to-face services at a care facility or community home for individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism, or behavioral health conditions

  • Long-term care facility residents

  • Long-term care facility staff

Phase 1b eligibility:

  • First responders: all emergency service workers, trained in urgent medical care and other emergency procedures, who are likely to be among the first people to arrive at the scene of an emergency. First responders include law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters.

  • People ages 65 years and older

  • Service providers working with high-risk populations

  • Public transit workers

  • Child-care providers: all employees of a licensed child-care provider, including child-care centers, group home child cares, and family home child cares; the facility must have a certificate of compliance, or equivalent, to operate as a child-care facility in PA

  • Education providers: employees of primary and secondary schools, grades K-12, that have a student-facing role or provide critical services to the operation of the school, including janitorial, food service, engineering, or social support functions. Public, private, charter, and religious-affiliated schools are eligible.

  • High-volume essential retail workers: employees who have public-facing roles at commercial retail businesses that provide critical goods and materials, such as medications and personal care supplies, home repair supplies, and automotive goods; this includes pharmacies, hardware stores, big box stores, gas stations, automotive repair shops, and similar retail; private retail ventures and employees who do not have direct interaction with the public are not eligible.

  • People manufacturing critical goods at businesses identified by the federal government as providers of essential supplies and materials

  • People working or residing in congregate settings, such as prisons, shelters for the homeless, drug and alcohol treatment, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation centers, specialized services housing. This category refers to facilities with more than 20 residents. It does not include visitors, salespeople, repair workers, and remotely located employees of such facilities.

  • Food distribution, prep, or service staff: any worker employed in the collection, distribution, processing, preparation, sales, or service of food to the public. These positions must have frequent, direct interaction with the public or be critical to the supply chain, including trucking and shipping services. Private food delivery services, catering, and in-home food businesses are not included.

  • Clergy

  • People ages 16-64 with the following high-risk conditions:

    • Cancer

    • Chronic kidney disease

    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or HIV, use of oral corticosteroids, or use of other immune-suppressing medications

    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥30 kg/m2 but <40 kg/m2) and severe obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2)

    • Sickle-cell disease

    • Smoking

    • Types 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus

    • Down syndrome

    • People with intellectual disabilities

    • Pregnancy

Note: Not all medical conditions on the city’s COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form are listed under Phase 1b’s list of high-risk conditions. Some medical conditions, such as moderate-to-severe asthma and high blood pressure, are being considered. At this time, these don’t qualify you for Phase 1b. “If those conditions do get added in the future, we’ll be able to invite everyone that marked those conditions when they submitted the form,” said a Philadelphia Public Health Department spokesperson. Recent Phase 1b additions include HIV.

The following essential workers from Phase 1c are eligible for the vaccine:

  • Sanitation workers

  • Maintenance and janitorial staff

  • Utility workers

  • Postal and package delivery workers

On April 12, the following essential workers will become eligible:

  • Higher education staff

  • Finance: public facing, non-remote positions in the finance industry

  • Transportation workers such as airport and train workers and taxi or rideshare drivers

  • Construction workers

  • IT and telecommunications workers

  • Members of the press

  • Legal industry

  • Public health workers

  • People receiving home and community-based services as defined by the PA Department of Human Services

  • Landscaping workers

  • Government workers

  • Elections workers

  • Social services workers

  • Unpaid caregivers of medically vulnerable people

On April 19, everyone 16 years and older will be eligible.


Pennsylvania is currently in Phase 1A and Phase 1B. The state will move into Phase 1C on April 12 and will open vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 or older starting April 19.

You can also use the state’s online Your Turn Tool to find out if you’re eligible:

Phase 1A eligibility:

  • Long-term care facility residents

  • Health-care workers including, but not limited to: emergency medical service personnel; nurses; nursing assistants; physicians; dentists; dental hygienists; chiropractors; therapists; phlebotomists; pharmacists; technicians; pharmacy technicians; students and trainees of health professions; direct support professionals; clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities; contractual HCP not directly employed by the health-care facility

  • People not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease among or from health-care workers and patients

  • People ages 65 years and older

  • People ages 16-64 with the following high-risk conditions:

    • Cancer

    • Chronic kidney disease

    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

    • Down syndrome

    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines

    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)

    • Severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)

    • Pregnancy

    • Sickle-cell disease

    • Smoking

    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

In addition, Pennsylvania is unrolling the vaccine to teachers through a state-run program using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson doses.

Additional frontline essential workers that are currently eligible include:

  • Law enforcement

  • Firefighters

  • Grocery store workers

  • Food and agriculture workers

Phase 1B eligibility:

  • People in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and people receiving home and community-based services

  • First responders

  • Correctional officers and other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A

  • U.S. Postal Service workers

  • Manufacturing workers

  • Education workers

  • Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship

  • Public transit workers

  • Individuals caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs

On April 12, people in Phase 1C will be eligible. These include essential workers in the following sectors:

  • Transportation and logistics

  • Water and wastewater

  • Food service

  • Housing construction

  • Finance, including bank tellers

  • Information technology

  • Communications

  • Energy, including nuclear reactors

  • Legal services

  • Federal, state, county, and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials, and members of the judiciary and their staff

  • Media

  • Public safety

  • Public health workers

On April 13, everyone 16 years and older will be eligible.


In New Jersey, vaccines are currently available for people in Phase 1A and Phase 1B. The state will open vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 or older starting April 19. You can preregister and make appointments through the state’s Vaccine Scheduling System at You can also call the state’s vaccination hotline at 1-855-568-0545 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Staff are available to help callers in more than 240 languages register, answer questions, provide contact information for vaccination sites, and check registration statuses.

Phase 1A eligibility:

  • Health-care workers: licensed doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists; health-care receptionists and staff; janitors; EMS and paramedics; mortuary service, funeral, and autopsy staff; laboratory technicians; consultants, per diem, and contractors who are not directly employed by the health-care facility; health-professional students, trainees, volunteers, and essential caregivers; community health workers, doulas, and public health professionals like Medical Reserve Corps; all workers in acute, pediatric, and behavioral health hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers; all workers in health facilities like psychiatric facilities, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and rehabs; workers in clinic-based settings like urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, and family planning sites; workers in long-term care settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and others; workers in occupational-based health-care settings, like health clinics within workplaces, shelters, jails, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools; workers in community-based health-care settings, like PACE and Adult Living Community Nursing; workers in home-based settings, like hospice, home care, and visiting nurse services; workers in public health settings, like local health departments, LINCS agencies, harm reduction centers, and medicinal marijuana programs; workers in retail, independent, and institutional pharmacies; other paid or unpaid people who work in a health-care setting, who may have direct or indirect contact with infectious persons or materials, and who cannot work from home

  • Residents and staff of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities; veterans homes; assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and personal care homes; group homes like residential care homes, adult family homes, adult foster homes, and intellectual and developmental disabilities group homes; HUD 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program residences; institutional settings like psychiatric hospitals, correctional institutions, county jails, and juvenile detention facilities (for eligible minors 16 years and older)

Phase 1B eligibility:

  • Paid and unpaid health-care workers

  • Residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities

  • First responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals: sworn law enforcement, New Jersey State Police troopers; municipal and county police officers; campus police officers; detectives in prosecutors’ offices and state agencies; state agency/authority law enforcement officers (e.g., State Park Police and Conservation Officers, Palisades Interstate Parkway Officers, Human Services police, and NJTransit police); investigator, parole, and secured facilities officers; aeronautical operations specialists; sworn federal law enforcement officers and special agents; bi-state law enforcement officers (e.g., Port Authority); court security officers; paid and unpaid members of firefighting services, including staff who provide emergency medical service and members of state fire marshal’s offices; bi-state fire service personnel (e.g., Port Authority); paid and unpaid members of search and rescue units including technical rescue units and HAZMAT teams; paid and unpaid members of industrial units that perform fire, rescue, and HAZMAT services

  • People ages 65 years and older

  • People ages 16-64 with the following high-risk conditions:

    • Asthma (moderate to severe)

    • Cancer

    • Cerebrovascular disease

    • Chronic kidney disease

    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

    • Cystic fibrosis

    • Down syndrome

    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

    • Hypertension or high blood pressure

    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)

    • Liver disease

    • Neurologic conditions (e.g., dementia)

    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2), severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), and overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2)

    • Pregnancy

    • Pulmonary fibrosis (damaged or scarred lung tissues)

    • Sickle-cell disease

    • Smoking/nicotine addiction

    • Thalassemia (type of blood disorder)

    • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus

  • Pre-K-12 educators, staff, and child-care workers in licensed and registered settings: paid and unpaid people working in pre-K through 12th-grade settings, including teachers, staff, classroom aides, bus drivers, janitors, counselors, administration staff, cafeteria workers, and substitute teachers; Head Start and Early Head Start program staff; any other paid or unpaid people working in schools serving those pre-K-12; paid and unpaid people working in licensed or registered childcare settings, including center-based and family child-care providers

  • Transportation workers, including bus, taxi, ride-share, and airport employees, NJ Transit workers, and Motor Vehicle Commission staff

  • Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors

  • Additional high-risk individuals including:

    • Migrant farmworkers

    • Members of tribal communities

    • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic-violence shelters

Additional frontline essential workers that are currently eligible include:

  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution workers

  • Elder-care and support staff

  • Warehousing and logistics employees

  • Social services support staff

  • Elections personnel

  • Hospitality workers

  • Medical supply-chain workers

  • Postal and shipping services workers

  • Clergy and judicial-system staff

  • Communications, IT, and media staff, including communications infrastructure support (engineers, technicians) and members of the press

  • Laundry services, including workers in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners

  • Real estate workers, building, and home services, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers

  • Retail financial institution staff, including bank tellers, lending service, public accounting, and check cashing workers

  • Sanitation, including workers providing disinfection and janitorial services for all essential facilities and modes of transportation, city sanitation workers, workers of residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal

  • Utilities workers, including electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, and cable/fiber optical/broadband/cellular service workers

  • Higher education staff, including educators and support staff

  • Librarians, including librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries

People ages 55 years and older are now eligible.

Individuals 16 years and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities are now eligible.

On April 16, everyone 16 years and older will be eligible.

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