Pa. Sen. calls for better communication, transparency in COVID-19 vaccination process

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to be a slow process and one state senator is demanding better communication from the state.

The latest data on Sunday shows 548,531 Pennsylvanians have received a partial vaccination and 111,670 have gotten both doses.

With 3.5 million people now eligible for the COVID vaccine, there’s a lot of confusion and frustration over the expanded rollout.

“There’s a little over 400 vaccine providers right now that have vaccine available, but the Department of Health has over 1,000 enrolled right now so we can expand that system,” said Randy Padfield, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “The limiting factor at this point is the vaccine.”

Even so, state Sen. Lindsey Williams, a Democrat representing Allegheny County, says information is disjointed and there needs to be more transparency in the process.

“However we are communicating our distribution plan isn’t working,” Williams said. “And that doesn’t mean it was wrong. It just, it isn’t working and we need to adjust and respond to where people are.”

She understands a lot of the supply issues are out of the commonwealth’s hands and a federal problem.

At the moment, Pa. is receiving 140,000 doses per week.

“But we’re not clearly communicating expectations for people about how long this might take, what the process is, where do they go,” Williams said.

Williams is calling for a statewide system for registering and being notified of available vaccines, not left up to individual counties like Lebanon, Chester, and Delaware.

As for comparing Pennsylvania’s progress to other states, Padfield says it’s not cut and dry.

“We do rank 33 when it comes to per capita, but again, per capita is based on our population and also available vaccine,” Padfield said.

In terms of total doses administered, Padfield says Pennsylvania ranks 5th in the country.

Once more vaccines are available, he says PEMA and the Department of Health will be focusing on mass vaccination sites and rural areas without easy access to pharmacies and health systems.

“All the counties have vaccination plans. They have sites developed and we’re looking at what resources we need to bring to bear on the sites to be able to assist the counties,” Padfield said.

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