Nanticoke, February 4, 2021 – State Senator John Yudichak (I – Luzerne/Carbon) participated in today’s Senate Health and Human Services and Aging and Youth Committees joint hearing on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Senator Yudichak serves as the Vice-Chair of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee. Senator Yudichak offered the following comments during the hearing.
“Leading statewide advocates, like the Pennsylvania Health Care Association and LeadingAge PA, sounded the alarm in early March 2020 that the novel coronavirus put Pennsylvania nursing home residents at grave risk and placed nursing homes at the epicenter of a global pandemic.
“Tragically, their calls for resources and greater collaboration in battling COVID-19 went unheard by the Administration and led to thousands of nursing home residents’ deaths that make up nearly two-thirds of all COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania.
‘With life-saving vaccines now being distributed, nursing homes thought their rescue day had come only to learn that Pennsylvania is one of the worst states, 38th out of 50, in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. The failure of the Administration is most acute at the epicenter of the pandemic – PA nursing homes.
“The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Programs prioritizes nursing homes in their vaccine distribution plan yet only 17% of Pennsylvania’s vaccine allotment has been dedicated to long-term care facilities and Pennsylvania’s neighboring states like New York and Ohio have vaccinated almost 20,000 more nursing home residents than Pennsylvania.
“The scientific data is indisputable — the epicenter of COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania is in our nursing homes. However, the Administration refuses to make nursing homes their number one priority in its pandemic response plans whether it is the distribution of PPE or a vaccine.”
Senator Yudichak also questioned Acting Secretary of the Department of Health Alison Beam regarding vaccines and the long-term care industry. His questions and her responses can be viewed here: https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/6vi5a7lxf6
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