HARRISBURG – In response to the rise in COVID-19 cases statewide and the added stress the pandemic is placing on Pennsylvania’s health care systems, Senate and House Leaders have requested that Governor Wolf reconvene the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to explore bipartisan solutions.
Legislative leaders – including Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) – said in a letter to Governor Wolf today that Pennsylvania’s health systems could benefit from the bipartisan collaboration with numerous statewide and community partners that the COVID-19 Task Force provided.
Many hospitals are reporting serious capacity issues and patient diversions as the number of COVID-19 cases increases.
“As the number of COVID-19 cases and number of hospitalized patients in every county of the Commonwealth continue to rise, we are hearing from many hospitals, health systems and constituents who are concerned,” the letter said. “Today, we are writing to respectfully request from you the reconvening of the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force so that we may again collaborate on the best mechanisms for sharing information and communicating solutions expediently with the entire General Assembly and our hospitals, health systems and constituents.”
The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, made up from lawmakers of both chambers and both parties, previously helped lead one of the biggest vaccine improvements in the country.
In mid-February, Pennsylvania ranked 49th in the nation in terms of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. By May, Pennsylvania ranked among the top 10 states in the country in terms of vaccines administered and led the nation in the number of 1st doses administered among the ten most populous states.
“The Task Force was created ten months ago today, February 9, 2021,” the lawmakers said. “We can agree that during that time our Commonwealth experienced improvements in many areas, including the vaccine rollout. We remain confident that the Task Force will prove to be successful once again.”