Burns urges PA to reprioritize vaccine rollout

Says smokers should be treated like everyone else

EBENSBURG, Feb. 24 – As a champion of smart, common-sense government, state Rep. Frank Burns today joined other legislators in urging the state to reprioritize its vaccine rollout to ensure the folks most at risk are first in line for the life-saving medicine.

“The vaccine rollout has been frustrating and confusing for millions of Pennsylvanians who were suddenly told they were eligible, but then left without a way to register for the vaccine,” Burns said. “Many people, myself included are questioning why the state put smokers, regardless of age, at the front of the vaccination line. We are urging the state to reconsider this decision, and to prioritize the people who need this vaccine the most.”

Burns signed onto a letter sent to Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam on Wednesday, which urged the state to change its Phase 1A category to include teachers, corrections officers, and ensure smokers are treated the same as everyone else, putting the focus on seniors and high-risk workers.

Burns noted the prioritization of otherwise healthy smokers is unfair to other people who have medical conditions. For example, he noted that a person with Cystic Fibrosis, a terminal respiratory disease, is left out of Phase 1A, yet anyone who smokes is included.

“Right now, our seniors and high-risk workers are desperately seeking a way to get vaccinated,” Burns said. “Smokers under 65 should be treated like any other induvial and wait their turn in line. If the state wants to restore the public’s trust and confidence in the system, this is a good place to start.”