Vaccine shortage and technology demands highlight of House Democratic Policy Committee
HARRISBURG | Feb. 8 – General consensus among testifiers at today’s House Democratic Policy Committee highlights that vaccine supply and scheduling limitations are the primary source of delays in Pennsylvania vaccination efforts.
“Pennsylvanians need a more streamlined approach to ensuring we can get people vaccinated and return to some semblance of normal,” Bizzarro explained.
Those tasked with administering vaccines at the state and county levels, including pharmacies, reiterated that there are not enough vaccines being allocated to meet demand, especially with the recent expansion of the 1A group.
County officials shared the strain they have experienced with dwindling employee complements expected to tackle the pandemic and other ongoing public health issues that remain.
Keara Klinepeter, executive deputy secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Health; Barry Niccolai, executive director of Centerville Clinics; and Vicky Kistler, director of health for the city of Allentown, provided deep insight into how the state and local governments are working to distribute the vaccines that Pennsylvania does receive.
“I greatly appreciate the efforts at the state, local and business level to join forces and do everything in their power to secure vaccines from the federal government and efficiently distribute them,” Bizzarro said.
Hospital system representatives, including Dr. Charles Barbera and Kathy Reeves, shared their concerns over availability and their willingness to continue serving communities. They urged continued mitigation efforts of social distancing, mask-wearing; highlighted the importance of testing availability; and said they will continue to be a part of the vaccination process.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association and representatives from CVS and Walgreens echoed vaccine supply shortage concerns and shared their desire to make sure Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities and the staff who provide care should remain at the top of the priority list as the state Department of Health continues to expand eligibility.
The chairman added, “To say it’s a challenge is an understatement, but we must remain patient, yet committed to improving this process. Protecting our most vulnerable and those who care for them is paramount.”
The full hearing and testimony is available at pahouse.com/policy.