Senate Hearing Details Inadequacies of State’s Vaccine Distribution Plan

HARRISBURG – A Senate hearing today detailed serious deficiencies in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan and its negative impacts on communities throughout Pennsylvania, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Aging and Youth Committee heard testimony about the difficulties in prioritizing vaccines for residents of long-term care facilities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control data tracker, as of the day of the hearing, Pennsylvania ranked 45th in the percentage of received COVID-19 vaccines administered.

One testifier representing long-term care facilities pointed out that only 32 of the state’s 1,200 assisted living facilities and personal care homes have been scheduled or received their first vaccine, and approximately 150 of the state’s 700 nursing homes have not completed their first vaccination clinic.

The hearing also included testimony on other challenges related to the state vaccination plan, including:

  • Delays in administering first doses after they have been allocated to the state.
  • Abrupt changes in guidance and vaccine eligibility criteria from the state.
  • A lack of information on providers who have available doses of the vaccine, particularly for older Pennsylvanians who are not familiar with new technology.
  • Inadequate supply of vaccines from the federal government.
  • Ensuring providers adhere to guidance and provide vaccines only to eligible individuals.
  • Expanding vaccine access to rural areas.

Testimony was provided by representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, hospitals, long-term care advocates and pharmacies.

Providers offered several suggestions to improve the state’s distribution plan and ensure more vaccines are distributed to eligible Pennsylvanians quickly and efficiently. Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam expressed a willingness to explore new options to improve the state’s distribution plan.

Hearing video and written testimony can viewed at PASenateGOP.com.

CONTACT: Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov