HARRISBURG, Pa. - Officials from four southeastern Pennsylvania counties say their Sunday afternoon meeting with the Pennsylvania Department of Health over the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine was both 'disappointing' and 'frustrating.'
In a joint statement released by representatives of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties on Monday, officials said, "there remains a lack of transparency on the total doses that have come to our counties from every source."
The meeting came a week after a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that some of the largest and most crowded areas in Pennsylvania were near the bottom of the distribution list. Delaware County, for example, is fifth in population and 53rd in doses per capita.
Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam. (The Office of Governor Tom Wolf)
Following the meeting, county officials say they remain unable to assess how the data that was presented to them in the meeting was calculated, and how those calculations have been used to determine the number of doses that have been allocated to their counties.
"Additionally, we were not given any indication of the plan to make up acknowledged shortfalls to certain counties going forward," the statement continued.
Monday's statement went on to call on Acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam to provide them with further data and explanations.
County officials called for the creation of a publicly available chart showing the amount of vaccine, from all sources, that has been delivered to each county each month. They also asked for an explanation of how and when counties that are lagging in vaccine delivery will receive additional doses.
According to county officials, Beam assured them during the meeting that no county would move on to vaccinating individuals in Phase 1B until enough vaccine has been made available to all counties to fully vaccinate residents in 1A. – not including teachers and educational support personnel who are directly receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the State.
Despite Beam's assurances, the counties are calling for an explanation on how the state will monitor vaccine providers to assure they do not move on to vaccinating individuals in Phase 1B before the rest of the counties have received sufficient doses for Phase 1A.
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