PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — State leaders are now weighing in on the scandal involving Philly Fighting COVID as they also address the mounting concerns about vaccine supplies and uneven distribution.

Dr. Rachel Levine, the former secretary of health, is with the Biden administration, while the new acting secretary is facing an avalanche of complaints and concerns about vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania, and that includes many questions about the now-disgraced Philly Fighting COVID.

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“At this stage, there’s not an actual intervention from the state,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “But we are keenly aware of it and watching closely.”

Beam says the commonwealth has limited authority in the Philly Fighting COVID controversy because Philadelphia has a separate and independent COVID-19 vaccine operation.

“This is one of those cases when I can actually point to you and say, ‘hey, it’s not my job,’” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office has requested information from the city concerning Philly Fighting COVID, a group doing vaccinations that was terminated by the health department for alleged misconduct.

A statement from Shapiro reads, in part, “Taking advantage of people and their privacy under the guise of serving as a nonprofit is not only unethical it can also be against Pennsylvania law. These allegations against Philly Fighting COVID are serious and any consumers who believe they have been misled should file a complaint with our office.”

“We are trying to figure out how we can make this process better,” Wolf said.

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In addressing vaccine distribution, Wolf says the commonwealth needs more supplies from the federal government, but the CDC ranks Pennsylvania 41st in getting people vaccinated.

“We were working diligently on multiple paths,” Beam said. “We’re all struggling with the same dilemma. There’s a limiting factor in how much vaccine we actually have. With that being said, of the first doses that we received, 73% of them have been administered and are in the arms at this stage of the game.”

Beam said the commonwealth is now using the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to organize vaccine clinics and instead of having a state registration like in New Jersey and Delaware, Pennsylvania is directing people to available providers, which includes pharmacies and hospitals.


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