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State lawmaker calls for Gov. Tom Wolf, Dr. Rachel Levine to remove state elected officials from Phase 1C of COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

PA House majority leader Kerry Benninghoff said he made the request in a letter. Elected officials should put the well-being of their constituents first, he said.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Note: The video is from Jan. 8.

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff announced Monday that he is calling on Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine to remove all members of the General Assembly, statewide elected officials, and appointed state officials from Phase 1C of the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

The elected officials belong with the general public, the Republican leader said in a letter to Wolf and Levine.

In the letter, Benninghoff stressed the importance of elected officials putting the well-being of their constituents first.

“Pennsylvania’s elected and administration officials are public servants," the letter said. "Good servants, be they public or otherwise, put their interests and well-being below those they serve. We should not be advanced in line to receive this life-saving vaccine at a time when supplies remain limited. Regardless of supply, we should not be advanced before the general public and certainly should not be able to receive this vaccine at the same time as at-risk populations.”

Benninghoff said his letter points out that the latest state COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan seeks to further align Pennsylvania’s distribution plan with federal recommendations, and laudably make more Pennsylvanians eligible for the vaccine, it includes government officials in Phase 1C with at-risk Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions and others, while the federal recommendations remain silent on when government officials should be eligible.

“[T]he state plan goes beyond the CDC recommendation to allow state elected officials and administration cabinet officials to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at the same time as those who may be at-risk and before the general public,” Benninghoff wrote. “In my eyes, that is simply not acceptable.”