Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam provided an update today on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania and the many challenges that are ahead because of limited supply of doses from the federal government. They were joined at a press conference by Interim Acting Physician General Dr. Wendy Braund and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield.
“Pennsylvania has not received enough doses to vaccinate the number of Pennsylvanians who need it, and that’s frustrating to all of us,” said Gov. Wolf. “The Trump Administration asked states to give more doses to more people, but the national stockpile was depleted.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the national vaccine supply is extremely limited, because states rely on the federal government to get the vaccine. My administration is fighting to make sure Pennsylvania gets our fair share of doses. Our goal remains to ensure every Pennsylvanian who wants a vaccine can get one.”
Following the poorly planned and executed rollout of the vaccine by the Trump Administration, the Wolf Administration is hopeful the new Biden Administration will provide a fair and effective national vaccine distribution strategy. The commonwealth remains focused on working with the federal government to receive more doses and get them into arms as soon as possible.
“We know that Pennsylvanians are ready for the vaccine,” said Acting Secretary Beam. “We ask for patience as the amount of the vaccine in Pennsylvania and the nation is limited. We want to ensure that the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient, which is why we are taking a phased approach. This way we can make sure the most vulnerable residents can get vaccinated now.”
Vaccine providers have administered vaccine to a total of 605,633 people, including 473,449 people who have received their first dose and 132,184 who have received two doses and are considered fully vaccinated. Pennsylvania will receive 143,275 first doses of vaccine and 137,625 second doses of vaccine this week, bringing the total doses the commonwealth has received to more than 1.5 million total doses of vaccine.
Federal institutions and Philadelphia are receiving and administrating their own doses, which are not included in the state’s totals.
Information on the vaccine, including the state’s vaccine plan, COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, a vaccine provider map and vaccine distribution data can be found here.
“I have been impressed to see so many Pennsylvanians willing to make the sacrifices necessary to help each other get through the pandemic,” said Acting Interim Physician General Dr. Wendy Braund. “With the vaccine rollout happening across the state we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to specifically thank all of the local vaccine providers who are working hard to get the vaccine into arms as quickly as it is available.”
PEMA is working with the Department of Health and county emergency management partners to ensure that county plans will be ready to execute as vaccines become more readily available. With a state as diverse as Pennsylvania, needs for planning or vaccine event support vary widely across the state.
“Like many people, we look forward to the day that we have sufficient COVID vaccine doses for everyone who wants one,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “When that day comes, PEMA and our federal and county partners will be ready to open vaccination clinics that meet the needs of the diverse communities across the state.”