COVID-19 Vaccine Registry Act solution to PA vaccine registration troubles

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – In response to challenges faced by eligible Pennsylvanians seeking to get vaccinated, Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pam Snyder, Jennifer O’Mara, and Austin Davis are introducing legislation that would streamline the registration and notification process.

The Vaccine Registry Act would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Health to create a statewide database of people who are eligible and willing to accept the vaccine and permit them to schedule for themselves, their spouses or significant others, and their families. Registrants may also provide evidence of risk status and proof of eligibility and make note of how far they are willing to travel to be vaccinated.

Vaccine providers would be required to commit to accessing the registry and prioritizing registrants for scheduling appointments, to prevent people from spending hours trying to find and sign up for available appointments.

“We cannot flounder any longer without a plan which allows people to easily register for vaccine access for themselves and their families, the frustration is real and growing and we cannot wait any longer. I look forward to working with the Department of Health and Governor Tom Wolf on this creative solution for a centralized system that recognizes the independence of our providers,” said Bizzarro, D-Erie, and chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee.

Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, added: “There are more than 1,700 providers statewide and the creation of a database would allow residents to register one time and then be alerted of an available vaccination appointment. This would alleviate the frustration and challenge of checking for appointments at multiple providers across multiple locations.”

“This is a great solution to simplify the vaccination process for seniors and for all Pennsylvanians who are trying to get vaccinated. The bottom line is, every delay in effectively and efficiently distributing this vaccine, is another day this pandemic will continue. Hope is here and in the hands of our health care workers. We are grateful for all they are doing to keep people healthy and safe, and we have to give them the tools to distribute this vaccine,” said O’Mara, D-Delaware.

“Our constituents are frightened, and our providers confused. We must create a way to channel the energy and interest in the vaccine into a more functional process and this legislation will accomplish that goal,” pledged Davis, chairman of the Allegheny County Delegation. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health would be tasked with establishing and maintaining the registry and providing access to providers who register to access the registry. Providers would need to register to receive vaccines for distribution and priority access would be given to patients who register through the state-managed registry.

The measure will likely be referred to the House Health Committee.