What to Know
- Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties released a joint statement Monday say how "disappointing and frustrating" a conversation with Gov. Tom Wolf's top health official was about vaccine allocations.
- They claim their counties have been stymied by the amount of vaccine doses given out by the state Health Department.
- The four counties in southeastern Pennsylvania make up almost a tenth of the state's entire population and ring Philadelphia.
Four of Pennsylvania's seven most-heavily populated counties are airing their unhappiness over the size of their allotment of coronavirus vaccines, saying Monday that a meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf's top health official did not resolve their concerns.
Leaders of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties — home to more than 2.5 million people — called a Sunday meeting with acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam “disappointing and frustrating.”
They say less-populated counties in Pennsylvania have received disproportionately bigger allotments of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and that their smaller-than-expected allotments have led to long waiting lists, cancellation of second-dose appointments and frustration and anger among residents.
They also said the state has been unable to clearly explain how it determined each county's vaccine allotments.
"All four counties consistently have received from the Pennsylvania Department of Health far smaller amounts of vaccine than requested, while less-populated counties elsewhere in the state have received disproportionately large amounts of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine," the counties said in the statement. "... There remains a lack of transparency on the total doses that have come to our counties from every source."
Wolf's administration has not acknowledged a shortfall.
However, the counties said, Beam told them that no county will be allowed to vaccinate people in Phase 1B before each county gets enough doses to fully vaccinate residents in Phase 1A who want the shot.
Still, the counties said they want the state to create a publicly available chart showing the breakdown of vaccines delivered to each county, including the source of those vaccines, and an explanation of how it will prevent counties from moving to Phase 1B before Phase 1A vaccinations are complete.
Here are their demands of the Wolf administration, as outlined in the joint statement:
- 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.