On a call with reporters Tuesday, state officials laid out their plan for vaccine distribution ahead of Pennsylvania’s first major winter storm of the season.
Calling the storm “significant,” Gov. Tom Wolf said state agencies are prepared to handle the storm amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic. Forecasts show up to two feet of snow falling in some parts of the state.
“The commonwealth is prepared for this storm,” Wolf said, reiterating his COVID directives for Pennsylvanians to stay home, if they can, to prevent travel disruptions for essential personnel and emergency responders.
Wolf noted the role the state Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and other state agencies play in the distribution of the vaccine during a winter storm.
PEMA Director Randy Padfield said that the Department of Health confirmed seven or eight vaccine deliveries to hospitals on Wednesday.
Padfield and Wolf confirmed that those deliveries would continue as scheduled.
“There are no changes to the plan right now,” Padfield said, adding that PEMA would work with the Department of Health,, the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, and the shipping companies on contingency plans, if they are needed.
Despite the pandemic, Deputy Secretary of Highway Administration Melissa Batula said PennDOT drivers would be ready for the storm, and would be able to clear Pennsylvania’s 95,000 miles of roadways, focusing on the hardest-hit areas, including the I-81 corridor.
Major Bruce Williams, director of the Pennsylvania State Police, weighed in on the vaccine distribution during the storm saying, “Anything you can do to ensure safe travel to the hospitals, will benefit all of us.”