Gov Wolf

Karen Mansfield

In a file photo from last month, Gov. Tom Wolf talked about Pennsylvania’s vaccine distribution and addressed vaccine hesitancy during his visit to Washington. On May 4, the Wolf administration announced plans to lift mitigation orders by Memorial Day, with the exception of face mask requirements. (Photo by Karen Mansfield)

During his recent visit to Washington Health System’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Washington Crown Center Mall, Gov. Tom Wolf touted progress in the number of Pennsylvanians who have gotten vaccinated and addressed vaccine hesitancy.

“Nearly half of all eligible Pennsylvanians have had the vaccine,” said Wolf, noting the commonwealth ranks No. 1 in first doses administered among the 10 most populous states in the country. “The health care heroes here at Washington Health System and across the commonwealth are the reason why Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout is going so well.”

WHS CEO Brook Ward and state Rep. Tim O’Neal, a member of the governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, joined Wolf at a press conference following the tour on April 28.

The Washington Crown Center Mall clinic that Wolf visited is one of three WHS operates in Greene and Washington counties.

The health system has provided more than 47,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for about 50% of all vaccines administered in Greene and Washington counties.

WHS has treated more than 1,000 COVID-19 inpatients, and provided monoclonal antibody treatment for 103 COVID patients.

To date, Pennsylvania has administered more than 8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But after months of high demand for the vaccines, vaccine hesitancy is becoming an issue across Pennsylvania.

Wolf encouraged those who haven’t gotten their shot to schedule an appointment now, and reassured Pennsylvanians that the vaccine is free, safe, and readily available.

“We need to keep making progress. We need to get vaccinated to keep us safe, but keep in mind: this vaccine is only available for Americans over the age of 16. If you’re below 16, we’re helping you by getting the vaccine,” said Wolf. “When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself, obviously, but you’re also protecting the people around you, especially the people who can’t get vaccinated yet.”

To address vaccine hesitancy, Wolf said his administration plans to launch a statewide media campaign to explain why Pennsylvanians should get vaccinated.

The governor also plans to rely on local health care systems to help fight vaccine hesitancy.

“The partnerships that we’ve had with local health systems and vaccine providers has really been important,” said Wolf. “Local vaccine providers know their patients, you know your communities. You’ve already done the hard work to establish trust and we’re talking about how we can even build on that moving forward.”

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