Pa. Dept. of Health responds to abc27 vaccine investigation


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pa. Department of Health has responded to an abc27 investigation which revealed Pennsylvania was behind other states in administering the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I do appreciate you following up because there are different perspectives on it,” said Barry Ciccocioppo, Covid Press Secretary, Pa. Department of Health.

Last week, the abc27 Investigators did some digging. We wanted to know how Pennsylvania compares to its neighboring states when it comes to the percentage of the population that has already received a first dose of the vaccine.

West Virginia was at the top of the list with 14% of its population receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pennsylvania was at the bottom, behind Ohio and New York, with 10.6%.

               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 %
New York 19.4 M 2,263,960 11.6%
Pennsylvania 12.8 M 1,365,523 10.6%

“I would argue that the number that matters is the number of doses delivered to residents in the state,” Ciccocioppo said.

If you rank the chart from the abc27 Investigation last week only by the number of first doses administered Pennsylvania is in the top three.

                             Population         First Doses administered       

New York 19.4 M 2,263,960
Ohio 11.7 M 1,369,627
Pennsylvania 12.8 M 1,365,523
New Jersey 8.9 M 1,086,763
Maryland 6 M 812,165
West Virginia 1.8 M 255,950

“On the CDC’s website, Pennsylvania ranks 6th in the nation in terms of getting doses to individuals in the state. We’ve {now} delivered 2 million doses to individuals. West Virginia has delivered less than half a million doses,” Ciccocioppo said.

The federal government uses population to determine how many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine a state receives each week. The data the abc27 Investigators compiled shows that some states are administering the vaccines received faster, which is why the percentage per population is higher.

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“I think you would be right there, in terms of saying faster, but you have to look at the volume and the geography [of each state]” Ciccocioppo said.

In an effort to be more proactive the Pa. Department of Health launched the “Your Turn” tool on its website. It helps Pennsylvanians understand where they fall in the vaccine prioritization effort and will notify participants when it is their turn to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have had over 100,000 people sign up with the “Your Turn” tool. Instead of having them using their time tying up phone lines, we can notify them when there are vaccine opportunities in their region. Pennsylvania is making progress there. We can always do better and we are going to try and continue to get better,” said Ciccocioppo.

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