Wolf Administration goes full-court press on vaccines

Pennsylvania Politics

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Wolf Administration has been stressing the importance of vaccinations for months but today put on a full-court press to convince more Pennsylvanians to get their shots.

The message is not complicated. “Get your shot. Get the vaccine. It really works. It’s worked for Pennsylvania. It’s gonna work for your family, for your friends, for your neighbors, for your community,” Governor Wolf said.

Governor Wolf in Lancaster, where COVID cases have been surging. Local Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) said because many people can’t yet get the vaccine everyone else should. To the hesitant, he described a meme he saw.

“Somebody was pointing out that they didn’t want to be part of anybody’s experiment. And the next slide has a doctor saying ‘Actually, you are! You are the control group!” Sturla said.

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An hour later in Cumberland County, the health department said it wants 80% of nursing home staff vaccinated by October 1. If not, those facilities will be subjected to more frequent testing of employees.

“Currently in Pennsylvania only 12.5% of facilities have a vaccination rate of 80% or greater. This is an embarrassing and quite frankly, very frightening to residents and their loved ones,” Deputy Secretary of the Dept. Of Health, Kara Kleinepeter said.

Some nursing home groups call it a punitive and unfunded state mandate.

Early afternoon, the vax attack moved to Harrisburg and the education secretary said the more students and staff vaccinate, the better the chance of uninterrupted and in-person learning. “We have a very different problem than we did in the beginning. In the beginning, it was availability. Now, it’s the need to make sure individuals understand the importance and role vaccinations are going to play,” Noe Ortega of the Dept. of Education said.

But getting parents to innoculate their kids is a challenge but Hamilton Health Center CEO Jeannie Peterson sees progress. “Yes, I think there’s still hesitancy but the need to get that vaccine is resonating with families,” Peterson said.

Wolf’s simple message was delivered. Whether it’s heard and acted on is a bit more complex. In the Harrisburg school districts, they will require masks this year but Governor Wolf reiterated that’s a local decision, there will be no statewide mandate.

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