Dr. Joyce Statement on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Washington, February 17, 2021
Altoona, PA – Congressman John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement on today’s Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine distribution update, which revealed gross mistakes and communication errors that could impact more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians.
According to Acting Secretary Beam’s remarks at today’s briefing, the Department of Health failed to exercise oversight and allowed providers to over-extend vaccine supply, compromising the security of Moderna second dose availability and delaying the vaccine appointments of up to 110,000 Pennsylvanians who already have appointments for either first or second doses – in addition to further delaying availability for those who are still attempting to make vaccine appointments.
“For weeks, I have been urging Governor Tom Wolf, Acting Secretary Alison Beam, and public health leaders to be fully transparent and forthcoming with their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This rollout, which has been plagued by misjudgments and miscommunications that hit vulnerable Pennsylvanians the hardest, has suffered another devastating blow.
“Already, I have heard from hundreds of eligible Pennsylvanians, the majority of whom reside in rural communities, who are pleading for help to find an available vaccine dose. With today’s setback, I fear that many of these individuals will have to reschedule their existing appointments or continue their harrowing search with added difficulty.
“It is immensely disappointing that the Wolf Administration allowed the vaccine distribution process to spiral out of control. Pennsylvanians deserve honest answers and a clear plan that will improve the distribution process and get shots into arms.”
Last week, Dr. Joyce sent another letter to Governor Wolf once again expressing alarming concern for Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which has excluded many rural Pennsylvanians, and asking him to clearly outline his plans to ensure that all eligible individuals can access the vaccine.
More than two weeks ago, Dr. Joyce sent his first letter detailing concerns with the process and asking for answers to basic questions about vaccine access and communication plans.
Dr. Joyce has yet to receive a response from Governor Wolf or his administration.