Southeast PA Senators Urge Equity in Vaccine Distribution, Oppose Proposed Singular Vaccine Site

Chester, PA – March 19, 2021 – Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Senators representing Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties sent a letter to Governor Wolf, Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam, and the members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, supporting requests by county officials that the state distribute coronavirus vaccine doses to county-run clinics rather than sending them to a single mass vaccination site for the entire region.

Senators Kane (D, Delaware/Chester), Comitta (D, Chester), Cappelletti (D, Delaware/Montgomery), Collett (D, Bucks/Montgomery), Kearney (D, Delaware/Chester), Muth (D, Berks/Chester/Montgomery), Santarsiero (D, Bucks), Tomlinson (R, Bucks), and Williams (D, Delaware/Philadelphia) signed onto the letter in support of county officials. In their letter, the Senators highlighted both the continued concerns with distribution equity posed by establishing a single site for 2.5 million resident and the superfluousness of creating a new mass site on top of existing county infrastructure. 

“We’ve been facing issues with equitable vaccine distribution here in Southeast PA for weeks. Our vaccine allotment has been severely limited, and residents are already being forced to travel for their appointments, meaning access for working people, folks without reliable transportation, and caretakers of children is often all but non-existent,” said Senator Kane. “Creating a single mass vaccination site for the entire southeast, a single mass vaccination site for 2.5 million people, will only serve to exacerbate these disparities. I’m standing in support of our county health officials and asking for the additional vaccine doses to be distributed between the four counties for allocation through their existing infrastructure. I’m tired of vulnerable communities being sent to the back of the line when times are hardest, and I won’t stop fighting for my constituents.”

The proposed single mass vaccination clinic is only the latest in a serious of hurdles residents of the collar counties have been facing in attempting to schedule vaccine appointments. Three weeks ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the four collar counties had received many fewer vaccine doses by population than other counties. Since then, legislators have faced continued hurdles in advocating for increased doses, including responses by the Department of Health that it is irrelevant where constituents are receiving their vaccines so long as they are getting vaccinated.  

However, residents of the collar counties continue to face difficulties in scheduling appointments and finding accurate information. “My constituents are beyond frustrated at the confusion and lack of coordination on how to obtain a vaccine,” said Senator Muth.  “I cannot understand the purpose of the $11.6 million dollar contract with a consulting firm for vaccine distribution and yet, here we are, many questions unanswered, incomplete data, and inconsistent information day-to-day.  Only providing one vaccination site for the entire Southeast region will simply disproportionately harm seniors who do not drive, single parents struggling to balance child care while working multiple frontline jobs, and so many who are just unable to travel an hour or more to a single vaccination site.  We can and must do better.  I urge the administration to listen to our local elected county leaders on this issue and ensure the true equitable distribution by showing all data and numbers.”

The letter follows a joint statement issued Wednesday, in which county officials from the four collar counties asked the Department of Health to reconsider their plans for a single mass vaccination clinic and to instead allocate the doses among the four counties.

Senator Kearney highlighted the added hurdle in creating a mass vaccination clinic when counties are already prepared to distribute additional doses. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel by creating a single mass vaccination site that will somehow serve 2.5 million residents across Southeastern Pennsylvania. Our counties have the infrastructure in place to get shots in arms – all they need is the supply. If our counties get the doses, our counties can get it done,” said Senator Kearney.

A full copy of the Senators’ letter can be found here


SEPA Delegation Letter March 18 2021



Senators Santarsiero and Tomlinson, Representatives Ullman and Galloway Announce RACP Grant for YMCA of Bucks County

DOYLESTOWN − August 1, 2019 − State Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Robert Tomlinson (R-6), with state Representatives Wendy Ullman (D-143) and John Galloway (D-140), announced the award of a $2,000,000 state grant for the YMCA of Bucks County through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. The project includes two capital renovations in Doylestown and Fairless Hills.

The Doylestown YMCA branch construction project is a 25,000 square foot expansion that will include a universal locker room with private showers and changing areas for adults with special needs, families with young children and others who require more privacy, and a wellness center expansion and program space that will accommodate donor-supported wellness programs for veterans, cancer patients, pre-diabetics, young people, and more.

The Fairless Hills YMCA branch construction project is a 48,000 square foot complete renovation that will redesign the existing facility including a swimming pool, gymnasium, welcome center, group exercise studios, classrooms, wellness center, and administrative offices.

“I supported the RACP grant request because the YMCA of Bucks County provides residents across our community the ability to grow as individuals and develop lasting connections with their neighbors. I’m especially proud to have the Doylestown YMCA within my district,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “This grant will allow the Doylestown and Fairless Hills facilities to expand upon the exceptional services our community has come to expect from Bucks YMCA staff and volunteers. The YMCA of Bucks truly benefits all residents of Bucks County. That is why I will continue to work closely with my Bucks County colleagues in the state House and Senate – who joined me in supporting the grant for this important project – in discovering other opportunities to support the YMCA of Bucks County.”

“Thank you, Governor Wolf, for releasing these funds to support the development of a beloved community center, the YMCA of Bucks County,” Rep. Wendy Ullman said. “The YMCA provides valuable services to our local community. Helping the YMCA expand its services will ensure the organization can continue its important work.”

“The Fairless Hills YMCA is one of the most respected institutions in Bucks County,” Rep. Galloway said. “This grant will be a tremendous boost to the critically important work being done on behalf of our community.”  

“We are so grateful to Governor Tom Wolf, Senators Tomlinson and Santarsiero, and State Representatives from throughout Bucks County for their support,” said Zane Moore, President/CEO of YMCA of Bucks County. “This grant will enable our Y to complete significant capital renovations ensuring we can continue to positively impact the health and wellness of our community and provide programs that benefit special populations.”

RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

To learn more about RACP projects and grants, visit the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website.