– As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) is taking part in hearings at the state Capitol on the Wolf administration’s 2021-22 budget proposal.
On Wednesday, Heffley questioned Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel about the COVID-19 vaccination program for older inmates housed in the department’s three long-term care facilities. Wetzel said 542 inmates had received shots to date under Phase 1A of the Department of Health’s vaccine rollout plan.
“It was disappointing to learn that inmates are receiving vaccines ahead of vulnerable senior citizens. To think that the Department of Health is prioritizing prisoners in state institutions instead of residents in long-term care facilities, where the mortality rate is nine times higher, is beyond belief.
“I am confused as to why the governor’s health department is placing inmates serving time for serious crimes in the same category as our seniors, public school teachers, first responders and health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. They need to do a much better job and prioritize law-abiding seniors instead of those behind bars in Pennsylvania’s prison system.
“My offices are hearing from desperate older and at-risk residents every day with questions about when and where they can get their shots. Our local health care networks are ready to go, but the administration is failing us by not providing an ample supply of the vaccine. This week’s revelation that tens of thousands of second doses were mistakenly given as first doses only adds to the problem.”
To view or download a broadcast-quality video of Heffley’s exchange with Wetzel, click the video box below.
Representative Doyle Heffley
122nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs