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Lawmaker introduces legislation to reverse a Pa. Department of Health decision

The DOH announced in March, it was changing the criteria for providers to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A state lawmaker has introduced legislation to reverse a decision by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that limits the number of COVID-19 vaccinators in the state. 

Back in March, hundreds of small drug stores and doctors offices learned they would not be getting doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as anticipated. This was because the DOH changed its strategy of how to vaccinate Pennsylvanians. 

This legislation introduced by State Rep. Millard, (R) Columbia County, would require the DOH to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all eligible providers that have previously been accepted into the COVID-19 program. 

At the time, the DOH says, its new strategy to not include smaller pharmacies and doctors was because larger hospitals and medical centers, "have demonstrated the ability to help us achieve our goal of quickly getting as many individuals vaccinated as quickly and equitably as possible." 

The change decreased the number of vaccine providers in the state by more than two-thirds, from 780 sites to 234 sites. In March, DOH Sec. of Health Alison Beam said, they picked providers based on their geographic reach, ease of access for residents, demographic equity, and estimated demand. 

The state has continued to improve its vaccination efforts. At the time of the announcement in March, the state ranked 33rd in the nation by the CDC for percentage of population vaccinated. It has since moved up to the 12th spot on the list when it comes to the percentage of population vaccinated. 

This legislation is currently in the House Health Committee.