HAP News Releases and Statements

HAP Statement on Expansion of COVID-19 Vaccine Plan’s Phase 1A

January 19, 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today announced an expansion of the criteria for phase 1A of the state’s vaccination distribution plan. This aligns Pennsylvania’s vaccine distribution playbook with federal guidance by expanding those eligible to be vaccinated during the current phase to now total 3.5 million people.

HAP president and CEO Andy Carter released the following statement in response:

“Hospitals and health systems want everyone to be vaccinated. We are still in the early phase of this public health mission, and the state and federal government are responsible for setting priorities so the most vulnerable are vaccinated sooner rather than later.

“However, vaccinating even the most vulnerable among us is impossible without far more vaccine doses and other resources. Today’s announcement from the Department of Health expands criteria for the priority groups, but does not improve the supply of vaccines, supplies, and clinicians to perform them. Since mid-December, hospitals and community health centers have worked diligently to vaccinate our health care heroes. That work continues. Looking ahead, this public health effort must expand to include more pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and community-based vaccine clinics. But we need the supply to meet this mission.

“On behalf of our member hospitals, I implore all Pennsylvanians to be patient and to await further word from the commonwealth or from their provider when vaccine supplies are sufficient to schedule them. We are also calling upon the federal government, Operation Warp Speed, and the commonwealth to provide as much supply as possible to meet the demand, so hospitals can do what we do best: provide patients the care they need. Tying up phone lines and crashing websites in search of vaccines that are so far in desperately short supply only will slow our efforts and compromise access to health care services at our hospitals.”

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