Democratic and Republican lawmakers urge: Bring mass vaccination sites to NEPA

| 10 Mar 2021 | 02:23

Editor’s note: On March 9, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) sent a letter to Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield with the support of 14 state representatives and two state senators from Northeastern Pennsylvania area urging the agency to set up mass Covid-19 vaccination sites in the region as soon as possible.

Dear Director Padfield:

I write today with the support of 14 state representatives and 2 senators serving Northeastern Pennsylvania to urge you to establish mass vaccination sites in Northeastern Pennsylvania, as soon as possible.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a serious toll on Northeastern Pennsylvanians’ physical, financial, and emotional wellbeing. As of March 8, the counties in my district had reported 50,512 confirmed cases and 1,558 deaths. The devastation of this health and economic crisis on our families, small businesses, and workers cannot be overstated. Thankfully with the emergence of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines — and now most recently, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The sooner we can get these vaccines into arms, the sooner our community can recover and rebuild. It is, therefore, deeply concerning to see Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout lagging behind so many other states. Recent reporting has noted pervasive issues with communication and coordination, which have created confusion for both residents and vaccine providers, and which have hampered efforts to quickly administer doses. While I am pleased to see the state is currently undertaking efforts to address these problems, more must be done.

To help speed up vaccinations in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I strongly encourage you to establish mass vaccination sites throughout the region. As vaccines become more readily available, mass vaccination sites will be crucial for ensuring that everyone who can receive a vaccine gets a vaccine. Time is critical in these efforts. A faster rollout not only reduces rates of severe illness and death, but also lessens the potential impact new COVID-19 variants could have and makes it less likely that new variants emerge.

To assist you in these efforts, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is swiftly enacted. I am confident that the legislation’s $20 billion investment establishing a national vaccination program will significantly bolster vaccine manufacturing and distribution capacity and offer the needed assistance to establish and sustain mass vaccination sites across the nation. In the meantime, I urge you to engage Northeastern Pennsylvania local governments and stakeholders in an effort to begin setting up mass vaccination sites throughout the region.

Thank you for your consideration. The undersigned state lawmakers and I look forward to working with you to address the needs of the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08)

PA State Sen. Lisa Baker (R-SD-20)

PA State Sen. Mario Scavello (R-SD-40)

PA State Rep. Michael B. Carroll (D-HD-118)

PA State Rep. Marty Flynn (D-HD-113)

PA State Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-HD-111)

PA State Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-HD-120)

PA State Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski (D-HD-114)

PA State Rep. Maureen E. Madden (D-HD-115)

PA State Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-HD-119)

PA State Rep. Kyle Mullins (D-HD-112)

PA State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-HD-121)

PA State Rep. Mike Peifer (R-HD-139)

PA State Rep. Jack Rader (R-HD-176)

PA State Rep. Tara Toohill (R-HD-116)

PA State Rep. Karen Boback (R-HD-117)

PA State Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-HD-189)