Pennsylvania Senators propose solution to vaccination frustration

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The coronavirus vaccine continues to be the most-sought-after shot in Pennsylvania. It also continues to be tough to secure. Too tough, nearly everyone agrees.

Jolene Keffer tried for days on phones and computers to get her 85-year-old mother a vaccination.

“Every time I would get through and press ‘option one,’ it would just repeat the same message and kick me out and send me to website and website … it had no way to register on it,” Keffer said.

Keffer kept calling, and though not directed to, chose “option two.”

“It put me in the queue and I was number 99. I was on hold for hours and hours,” Keffer recalled.

After five hours on hold, Keffer’s persistence paid off. But her mom’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment isn’t until March 8.

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“[Keffer’s] mother is just one example. My father is another example of trying to figure out how to get them the vaccine … Where to call and what to do and how do I get on a list?” state Senator Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery, Delaware) said.

Senator Cappelletti is co-sponsoring a bill requiring the state to establish a statewide vaccine registry. The registry would work to link participants with providers on a one-stop-shop platform.

“And you’re not calling four or five or six places. It’s one place you call and then get a return call a vaccine provider will reach out to you so you can get your vaccine,” Cappelletti explained.

Governor Wolf again blamed supply, but concedes Pa. trails the national average in allocation of shots being given and percentage of fully vaccinated populations.

“Pa. needs to do a better job. We are working hard to figure out the things to do to make sure everyone who wants a vaccine can get one,” Gov. Wolf said.

Cappelletti is sure her bill would help.

“And create a process that anybody can use, that’s easy and trustworthy,” Cappelletti said.

But haven tangled with the bureaucratic beast, she doesn’t trust the state to pull it off.

“Is it gonna be able to handle the volume of calls? [I’m] not a hundred percent sure on that,” Keffer said.

Gov. Wolf’s spokeswoman said they’re willing to work with the legislature on the registry, but the real problem is the lack of supply from the feds.

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