Vaccine supply has increased in Chester County, thanks to the efforts of county lawmakers.
Representatives and senators intervened on behalf of Chester County constituents by sending a vaccine delegation letter to the Pa. Department of Health’s Acting Secretary Alison Beam.
In the letter, lawmakers expressed concern over low vaccine allotment for the area stating, “While Chester County is ranked 6th in population in the Commonwealth, to date, it ranks 33rd in the amount of vaccine doses received.”
In a meeting with Beam following the letter, issues with the formula were resolved. “[The DOH] did revise the formula and actually simplified it a little bit. And we did, that following week, get substantially more doses delivered to Chester County,” commented Rep. Diane Herrin, of the 156th District. About 18,000 more doses were delivered following the meeting.
Herrin told the Delaware Valley Journal the formula for Pennsylvania vaccine allotment was abridged from a more complicated formula to just four metrics:
- Total population
- Population of individuals 65 years and older
- Number of COVID-19 cases
- Number of COVID-19 related deaths
The corrections to total population and population of people 65+ particularly helped secure more doses for Chester County, Herrin noted.
The Feb. 10 letter garnered signatures from 13 lawmakers offering bipartisan support for this issue.
“This was easy for [lawmakers] to get together on a bipartisan basis and work to advocate for our communities. It’s wonderful and I hope it’s kind of a harbinger of things to come so that we can continue to work together on behalf of our constituents,” Herrin added.
She commented that all Chester County lawmakers were concerned, as their constituents have repeatedly expressed alarm over vaccine rollout.
“We particularly received calls from our elderly population. And part of that issue was that a lot of the accessibility to registering for the vaccine is over the computer and requires technology. And many of our older residents either don’t have computers or they’re not used to using them in this way,” she stated.
This problem prompted the Chester County Health Department to establish a “robust calling center” for people to schedule vaccinations. The scheduling center can be reached at (610) 883-5410, Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Long waits are to be expected.
As of Feb. 19, 36,561 people have received either one or both vaccine doses in Chester County, out of the 97,869 that qualify for Phase 1A. As for supply, the Chester County Health Department requested 57,400 doses and has received 24,400.
The Pa. Department of Health commented, “We must have patience as the amount of vaccine available to Pennsylvanians is extremely limited.”
Gov. Tom Wolf’s office stated, “Currently, Pennsylvania has not received enough doses to vaccinate the number of Pennsylvanians who need it, and that is frustrating to all of us. It is incredibly disappointing that the national vaccine supply is extremely limited because states rely on the federal government to get the vaccine.”
Herrin suggested constituents sign up for Chester County lawmakers’ weekly COVID update newsletters to stay informed on the latest developments in the area.
COVID-19 Vaccination Resources: