PHILADELPHIA - Officials in Bucks County will introduce legislation on Friday that aims to retool vaccine distribution after claims that larger, more populated counties were not getting a proportionate allocation of doses from the state.
Leaders in many southeastern counties who have noticed an insufficient amount of shots hoped to get answers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday, but their meeting was canceled at the last minute.
In an op-ed piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Delaware County representative Mike Zabel called Pennsylvania's distribution of doses "unnecessarily chaotic" and a "scavenger hunt." He said the plan to have residence scour the internet for vaccine appointments has resulted in inequitable distribution.
Zabel believes that mass vaccination sites, like the FEMA clinic at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, will boost access to shots for suburban residents. He also highlighted a bill put forth by lawmakers that would establish a state registry in which residents are contacted by the state to set up a vaccine appointment.
With a population of well over 560k people, Delaware County has only received shipments of slightly more than 51,000 shots, according to the Inquirer. The fifth most populated county in the state is fifty-third in doses per 100k.
To combat this issue, lawmakers in Bucks County are rallying to retool the distribution process by having a say in where doses are directed. The legislation also ensures the state will make up for any existing shortfalls in vaccines.
"We really want it to be solely based on population, the federal government is dispersing the vaccine to states based on the state's population and that should trickle on down to the counties," Pa. Rep. Frank Farry said.
Pennsylvania and local officials will meet on Sunday to discuss a plan to more fairly distribute doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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