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Benninghoff: Vaccinate elected officials with general public

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) sent a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Gov. Tom Wolf asking that members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, statewide elected officials, and appointed state officials be removed from Phase 1C of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan and placed in line with the general public.

In the letter, Benninghoff stressed the importance of elected officials putting the well-being of their constituents first.

“Pennsylvania’s elected and administration officials are public servants. Good servants, be they public or otherwise, put their interests and well-being below those they serve,” Benninghoff wrote in the letter. “We should not be advanced in line to receive this life-saving vaccine at a time when supplies remain limited. Regardless of supply, we should not be advanced before the general public and certainly should not be able to receive this vaccine at the same time as at-risk populations.”

While the letter points out the latest state COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan seeks to further align Pennsylvania’s distribution plan with federal recommendations, and laudably make more Pennsylvanians eligible for the vaccine, it includes government officials in Phase 1C with at-risk Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions and others, while the federal recommendations remain silent on when government officials should be eligible.

“[T]he state plan goes beyond the CDC recommendation to allow state elected officials and administration cabinet officials to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at the same time as those who may be at-risk and before the general public,” Benninghoff wrote. “In my eyes, that is simply not acceptable.”

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