COVID-19 vaccination efforts grow across Delaware Valley, but health officials ask for patience

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As COVID-19 vaccination efforts across Pennsylvania are ramping up, health officials in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties are asking for patience.

To date, more than 311,000 Pennsylvanians have been vaccinated.

In the area's four largest counties, partial vaccinations are now mostly in the ten of thousands, with Montgomery County leading the way.

Bucks County is reporting the most fully vaccinated people in the region.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that "the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused."

"We're just asking people to be patient. You know this is a process that we don't really have a lot of control over. The state is setting the guidelines for how it is rolled out," said Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie.

On Tuesday, Bucks County launched a vaccine clinic for approximately 400 emergency health care workers.

It's the first of more clinics officials hope to open as more vaccine distribution becomes available.

"No one has ever had to vaccinate 350 million people before. So, everyone is kind of figuring it out as we go but we are working really hard to go as fast as we can," said Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department.

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New Jersey and Pennsylvania health officials gave an update on the state of vaccination rollouts across both states as the coronavirus surges across the Delaware Valley.

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it is switching gears as officials are now pushing the government to no longer hold back on supply. They are urging states to immediately start vaccinating groups down the priority scale.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Doctor Rachel Levine said the state isn't making any changes just yet.

"We want to see the whole plan as they are rolling it out and then we will certainly study that and look at the impact upon Pennsylvania and we will follow federal guidance," Levine said during Tuesday's briefing.

Until then, county governments are working with what they do have.

"We're eager, we're ready. Our hospitals want to stay in it, but you can only ask them to stay in it as long as there is vaccine in there. We cannot lose the vaccinators that we already have," said Jeanne Casner, Chester County's health director.
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