HARRISBURG – On the latest episode of “Kristin’s Corner” podcast, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) sits down with Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), who is a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, to discuss how the collaborative approach improved the rollout of the vaccine across the state.
“Days after the General Assembly approved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow voters to weigh in on whether or not a governor should be required to work with the duly elected General Assembly during a disaster declaration lasting longer than three weeks, Governor Wolf created a legislative task force to help turn around the initial dismal COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” Phillips-Hill said.
“The timing is questionable at best, but thankfully, Senator Aument and his colleagues on the task force have helped to turn around Pennsylvania’s effort to provide the vaccine to as many people who wish to receive it,” she added.
On February 9, 2021, Governor Wolf announced he was forming a COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force with the legislature. Each legislative caucus – Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, House Republicans and House Democrats – nominated a representative to provide input and guidance at regular meetings with the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
Senator Aument serves as the representative for the Senate Republican Caucus.
According to Aument, when the task force was formed, Pennsylvania ranked 49th in the nation in percentage of Pennsylvanians having received the first dose of the vaccine. At that time, an ABC27 investigation found Pennsylvania lagged all adjacent states in administering the vaccine to eligible residents.
Due to the work of the task force, Pennsylvania now ranks 12th in percentage of Pennsylvanians having received the first dose of the vaccine. Pennsylvania also ranks first in 1st dose percentage among the ten most populous states in the nation.
“Since the outset of the COVID-19 response, the Senate Republican Caucus has consistently urged bipartisan collaboration with the members of the General Assembly,” said Aument. “Bringing more voices – including dissenting voices – to the table has contributed to a more thoughtful and responsive vaccination strategic plan. The success of the task force model thus far reinforces that position, demonstrating that we can in fact respond to a crisis in real-time, and improve outcomes, when the Governor and General Assembly work together.”
“I think this conversation is really timely as the task force recently expedited the rollout to get more shots in arms, and the statistics prove that collaboration between the executive and legislative branch improves outcomes,” Phillips-Hill added.
Phillips-Hill’s podcast can be found on her website at SenatorKristin.com/podcast. The episode runs approximately 15 minutes.
York Countians can obtain information on the vaccine rollout here:
“Kristin’s Corner” can also be accessed on popular platforms, including SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox, iHeartRadio and Spotify.