PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that Pennsylvania teachers and school staff will get the state’s first allotment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That’s in addition to the people in phase 1A.
But there are continued complaints about the vaccine rollout in the state and growing concerns about why the Philadelphia region appears to be getting short-changed.READ MORE: 17-Year-Old Shot While Reportedly Playing With Guns In Olney Basement Dies, Suspect In Custody, Philadelphia Police Say
Southeastern Pennsylvania has a big population with high rates of COVID infections, but less populated areas are getting more vaccines. It’s unclear why.
And now, school staff are being added to the priority list.
“Schools are an integral part of our communities,” Wolf said.
Wolf says Pennsylvania educators will get the first 94,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.
“This initiative will help protect our communities. It’s going to take burdens off our parents and families and it’s going to make our schools get back to the business of teaching our kids,” Wolf said.
Supplies of the other two vaccines have improved in Pennsylvania but the state is still lagging in administering the doses.READ MORE: SEPTA Union President Releases Video Warning Its Members To Prepare For Possible Strike
There’s a disparity of vaccines being provided to the southeastern part of the state compared to less populated areas.
“I do not understand why we are not getting more doses. People are just clamoring to be vaccinated. We want to vaccinate them, we’re ready, we just need more vaccine,” said Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh.
Here’s one example: Montour County, with a population of just over 18,000 people, has received the highest amount of vaccines in the state. Compare that to Montgomery County with almost 900,000 people — one of the largest in the state. But its share of vaccines is much less and rates 61st in the state.
“I’m looking for more transparency, I’m looking to understand how these allocation decisions are being made,” Arkoosh said.
The state health department has said allocations are made based on need but the southeastern part of the state has had high rates of COVID-19 and has not received a comparable amount of vaccines.
Eyewitness News again today asked the health department to explain the allocation disparity and did not get an answer.MORE NEWS: Overnight Shooting In Fairhill Neighborhood Critically Injures 32-Year-Old, Police Say
Philadelphia has its own separate supply of vaccines.