WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (CBS) — In Montgomery County, there’s frustration over the slow pace of vaccinations. County officials say despite their pleas, the state is sending far fewer vaccines than the county needs. Officials spoke out on Wednesday.
Here at the county’s newest mass vaccination center in Willow Grove, about 500 doses are being administered each day. Officials say they have the ability to do 10 times that amount if only the state would increase supply.READ MORE: Pennsylvania To Expand COVID-19 Eligibility To Everyone In Phase 1C Beginning Monday
Just over a year into the pandemic, leaders in Montgomery County say they’re frustrated over the slow pace of vaccine availability that’s limiting their ability to get shots into arms.
“We know too many people that passed away. It’s sad,” Jenkintown resident Debbie Kimble said.
Mass vaccination sites like the ones in Willow Grove or Norristown seem like ghost towns compared to the number of people they can hold. But there’s hope.
“President [Joe] Biden has taken very tangible steps to ramp up production of vaccines and he has stated clearly that more vaccine will be coming to the state soon,” Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh said.
Arkoosh says the county feels shortchanged compared to surrounding areas. There’s a large 1A population here, comprised of essential workers. Health officials are working to get through a backlog of 89,000 people in that category before they can advance to advance to the 1B phase.READ MORE: Man Injured In North Philadelphia Shooting: Police
“Within three to four weeks, with the assistance of the state, we should be mostly through the 1A population,” said Montgomery County Department of Public Health Medical Director Richard Lorraine.
Any delay is becoming even more critical, particularly because positive cases in the county are heading in the wrong direction.
Officials say the U.K. variant is prevalent in Montgomery County. Over 30 cases have been confirmed.
Arkoosh warns people should avoid travel and gatherings during spring break and the weekend holidays.
“It is still not known the extent to which someone who is vaccinated could spread the virus to others,” Arkoosh said.MORE NEWS: Former Bordentown Police Chief Frank Nucera Sentencing Postponed For Medical Reasons
Arkoosh says the county does not have any say on distribution by the department of health. But they have requested the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine to reach more vulnerable populations. When those will be made available is still unclear.