—Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware) signed a bipartisan letter
to the Pennsylvania Department of Health asking them to clearly explain how and when counties that are lagging in vaccine delivery will receive additional vaccine.
“For weeks, we have all been advocating for more vaccine doses for our constituents, who are angry, desperate, and confused,” the letter said. “We believe, based on the data that we have reviewed from our local health departments and the data provided by the Department of Health, that we have not received an equitable allocation of vaccine doses relative to the number of residents in our counties and the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on Southeastern Pennsylvania—the epicenter of the pandemic in Pennsylvania.”
COVID-19 vaccination distribution in Delaware County is dire. The county ranks fourth in the state for population, 53rd in the state for the number of doses given.
In the letter, Williams also asked for a chart showing the amount of vaccine from all sources, including federal partnerships, that has been delivered to each county each month, and he asked the department to 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) until all counties in the Commonwealth have received sufficient vaccine to vaccinate their 1A population.
Williams also co-sponsored House Bill 756
, which calls on vaccine allocation to be based entirely on population instead of the DOH's formula which has shortchanged the Southeast. On Monday he also called on the National Guard to take over the responsibilities for distributing the vaccine.
“The National Guard specializes in logistics,” Williams said. “That’s exactly what we need to meet the vaccine distribution challenges.”
On Thursday, Williams joined a bipartisan group of local and state officials to demand action.
At a virtual press conference held this week by Delaware County Council which focused on vaccine efforts, Williams praised the bipartisan legislative task force for suggesting putting the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the National Guard in charge of vaccine distribution for educators.
“When I asked the director of PEMA how we would get information about how that vaccine would be distributed, he had no satisfactory answer,” Williams said. “He only said that the Intermediate Units would deal only with the school districts and not with us. That is a step backwards, and I refuse to move backward when dealing with such critical issues as life and death. We will have our questions answered, or we will find a new agency or director to lead this effort.
“Our voices will be heard,” Williams said at the press conference. “Delaware County is one of the most infected counties in the Commonwealth; it is a county that is recording deaths at one of the highest rates in the Commonwealth; we will not be ignored or patted on the head and told we will be eventually get caught up on vaccine.”
Representative Craig Williams
160th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rene Morrow