Elected officials in Southeastern PA, including Bucks, are not pleased with the state’s response to apparent inequalities on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The Bucks County Commissioners say they are still looking for answers after a meeting Sunday with Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam. A bipartisan letter from elected officials representing Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties called it “both disappointing and frustrating.”
It comes after analysis from the Philadelphia Inquirer showed counties with smaller population size were receiving a disproportionate amount of COVID-19 vaccine.
These officials are calling on the health department to provide transparency on how much each county has received so far. Additionally, they want an explanation of how and when the state will provide each county with its fair share.
A group of Bucks GOP lawmakers introduced a bill recently to base vaccine distribution on population.
The letter is available in its entirety below.
The meeting with the PA Department of Health was both disappointing and frustrating.
There remains a lack of transparency on the total doses that have come to our counties from every source. Therefore, we have no way to assess how the data presented to us today was calculated, and how those calculations have been used to determine the number of doses that have been allocated to our four counties. Additionally, we were not given any indication of the plan to make up acknowledged shortfalls to certain counties going forward.
Acting Secretary Beam did confirm that no county will move to vaccinate people in Phase 1B before sufficient vaccine has been made available to all counties to fully vaccinate residents in Phase 1A who wish to be vaccinated – with the exception of teachers and educational support personnel who are directly receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the State.
Together we call on Acting Secretary Beam to swiftly do the following:
- Create a publicly available chart showing the amount of vaccine from all sources, including Federal partnerships, that has been delivered to each county each month; a description of the “County Index” that PA Department of Health is currently using to allocate doses to each county; and how the Index has been applied to each County since it came into use in January.
- Explain how and when counties that are lagging in vaccine delivery will receive additional vaccine.
- Explain how vaccine providers will be monitored going forward to ensure that no vaccine provider moves on to vaccinate 1B individuals (beyond the teachers and educational support personnel noted above) until all counties in the Commonwealth have received sufficient vaccine to vaccinate their 1A population.