Snyder and Bizzarro push for changes to vaccine prioritization

HARRISBURG, Feb. 24 – Citing significant and troubling concerns regarding access to the COVID-19 vaccine for several at-risk populations, including teachers, school personnel and corrections officers, state Reps. Pam Snyder and Ryan Bizzarro have sent a letter to acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Allison Beam, urging her to augment the Phase 1a category to include those individuals.

Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Westmoreland, said further changes in prioritization are needed, including limiting smokers to only those 65 or older, which would put senior citizens and high-risk workers at the top of the list, while still allowing at-risk smokers access to the vaccine.

“Prioritizing others over our educators and corrections officers is baffling, especially when you consider the close congregate work they perform, and to have them currently placed in the Phase 1b category is insulting,” Snyder said. “It’s also vital that our health care systems be better informed as to the number of vaccines they’re slated to receive, as well as when those vaccines will arrive. These institutions must be kept updated, and to leave them in the dark only further exacerbates the issues we continue to have with the ongoing vaccine rollout process.”

I am proud to partner with Representative Snyder in helping make sure our most vulnerable populations receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Bizzarro, D-Erie. “The bottom line is that the demand for the vaccine exceeds the supply and while we are still in this position, we must prioritize our most vulnerable populations by considering the impacts as we modify eligibility phases. Collaborating with the Department of Health and health care providers who are responsible for administering the vaccine is key in making sure we can craft an effective rollout strategy.”

The letter, which has been signed by more than 30 legislators, can be found by clicking here.