HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pa. Department of Health has been criticized for how it has handled the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Pennsylvania is facing the same problem that every single state is facing,” said Barry Ciccocioppo, COVID Press Secretary, Pa. Department of Health.
According to the Pa. Department of Health, over 4 million Pennsylvanians are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, the state has only received 2.5 million doses.
The federal government decides how many doses go to each state based on the supply available and the population of the state.
“For example, two weeks ago our providers asked for 705,000 doses for first dose vaccine, and the federal government only allocated Pennsylvania 166,000 doses to fill those requests,” Ciccocioppo said.
The federal government’s formula for vaccine distribution does not take into consideration the age of the population in each state.
“In Pennsylvania we have a large portion of people who are over 65,” Ciccocioppo said.
The abc27 Investigators asked if former Pa. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine raised this concern with the federal government.
“The feds have their formula and allocation process. All of the states are getting it by population,” Ciccocioppo said. “We do understand people’s frustration with not being able to get an appointment, but what people have to understand is that from the beginning, when vaccines were approved for us, it was clear there was not going to be enough vaccine coming from the manufacturers for all the people that would want it.”
Are other states doing this better than Pa.?
The abc27 Investigators compared Pennsylvania to its neighboring states to see what percentage of the population has already received the first dose of the vaccine.
To learn more about the coronavirus vaccine or how to get vaccinated in Pa., visit abc27.com/vaccine.
We used the census to find population information and each state’s COVID-19 Vaccine dashboard.
Delaware was not included in this comparison, because its COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard did not break down vaccine distribution between first doses and second doses.
Population First Doses Administered % Population Vaccinated
West Virginia 1.8 M 255,950 14%
Maryland 6 M 812,165 13%
New Jersey 8.9 M 1,086,763 12%
Ohio 11.7 M 1,369,627 11.7 %
The Pa. Department of Health says it has been consistently drawing down the maximum allowable vaccine from the federal government.
“Not every state draws down their maximum allotment from the federal government, Pennsylvania has been doing that consistently so we can get as much vaccine into the state as possible,” Ciccocioppo said.