Apr. 14, 2021

HARRISBURG – Rep, Parke Wentling (R-Crawford/Erie/Lawrence/Mercer) announced today that he is the first co-sponsor of legislation to reverse the unilateral decision by the Department of Health (DOH) to limit the number of COVID-19 vaccinators throughout the Commonwealth.

Wentling’s support of this legislation is in direct response to an unanswered letter he sent to Gov. Tom Wolf, on March 30, regarding the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s abrupt termination of COVID-19 vaccine supply to local provider Bretton Walberg and Walberg Family Pharmacies. The full letter is attached.

“The governor’s refusal to acknowledge my letter on behalf of the citizens I serve, combined with the recent announcement that all Pennsylvanians are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine, have left me with no other option than to push for the immediate enactment of this extremely critical legislation,” said Wentling.  “As has been reported across the Commonwealth, providers like Bretton Walberg were stripped of their vaccine allocation with little to no warning due to largely non-transparent and unaccountable policy changes by the DOH. In fact, many of these family-owned pharmacies had already invested their own money for refrigeration units to house the vaccine only to be rudely informed that their service to their communities and this Commonwealth was no longer needed.”

House Bill 1164 would require the DOH to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all eligible providers that had previously been accepted into the COVID-19 program. However, this legislation would not apply to providers that were removed for a specific cause.

“As I strongly emphasized in my letter to the governor, Mr. Walberg has operated vaccine clinics all over western Pennsylvania and administered over 37,000 vaccinations to citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Wentling. “Furthermore, he has been able to coordinate and train other vaccine providers. He has complied with recording mandates and the scheduling requirements the DOH has demanded of him and still he was removed from the list. At his point, the most practical and effective remedy for all of our cancelled vaccine providers would be for the governor to promptly sign this legislation when it reaches his desk.”

Representative Parke Wentling
17th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Ty McCauslin