HARRISBURG – Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) is calling on Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to step up efforts to get more COVID-19 vaccine to rural communities across the Northern Tier.
“McKean and Potter counties are receiving significantly less vaccine than other neighboring rural counties,” Causer wrote in a letter to Wolf Tuesday. “Looking closer at McKean County, the only hospital in the City of Bradford has not received any first-dose vaccine since Feb. 4, and at the time, they only received 100 doses!”
Causer notes 16.2% of the statewide population has been fully vaccinated, while McKean County is at only 11.5% and Potter County at just 8.1%. Conversely, Cameron County has a vaccination rate of 35.3% while Elk County (just outside of the 67th Legislative District) is at 31.3%.
In each of the three counties Causer represents, senior citizens – each of whom would be eligible to be vaccinated under the state’s plan – make up at least 20% of the population. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, McKean County’s population of persons age 65 and older is 20.1%. In Potter County, it’s 24.5% and in Cameron County, it’s 28.1%.
He also pointed to residents of New York being able to travel into Pennsylvania and secure some of the region’s extremely limited vaccine supply, while Pennsylvanians are not permitted to secure vaccine in New York.
“Governor, we need you to get involved and fix this inequity,” Causer concluded. “People in McKean and Potter counties deserve access to vaccine just like every other resident of the Commonwealth.”
Causer expressed frustration by a lack of response from the Department of Health to prior inquiries, prompting him to reach out directly to the governor on behalf of the citizens who have been contacting his district offices to share the difficulties they have faced in trying to obtain a vaccine for themselves or their loved ones who are eligible.
“It’s unacceptable but sadly not unexpected that our rural areas are again being ignored by this administration,” Causer said. “I hope to get some answers from the governor very soon and, more importantly, get more vaccine available to our citizens who want it.”
A copy of the full letter is available at the link here
Representative Martin T. Causer
House Majority Policy Committee Chairman
67th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler