PA Lawmakers Pitch a Plan for COVID-19 Vaccine Registry

Senators Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny), Maria Collett (D-Bucks, Montgomery), Katie Muth (D-Berks, Chester, Montgomery) and Amanda M. Cappelletti (D-Delaware, Montgomery) plan to introduce legislation that would create a statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Registration database. The four Democratic Senators began circulating a co-sponsorship memo seeking support from other members.

This legislation would create a registry system that would allow Pennsylvanians to register themselves and their loved ones as willing recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine, provide proof of eligibility for a risk category, and say how far they are willing to travel to receive their vaccination. Vaccine providers will then have to register to access this database and give priority to these individuals in making appointments available. The legislation is intended to reduce frustration and eliminate the need to spend hours searching for appointments.

“Our offices have all been inundated with heartbreaking calls of constituents desperate to protect themselves and their loved ones from this deadly disease,” said Senator Williams. “From an 80-year-old cancer survivor with no internet access who cannot search for an online vaccine appointment from a long list of individual providers, to a young man with Down’s syndrome who was turned away from a vaccine clinic despite having an appointment for not meeting the 65+ age criteria, we are failing the millions of Pennsylvanians who need a straightforward, accessible, and consistent way to sign up for their COVID vaccine.”

“At-risk Pennsylvanians should not be forced to navigate a complicated, competitive appointment system that favors those with free time and computer skills,” said Senator Collett. “A statewide vaccine registration database could help streamline this process and restore our constituents’ faith that, though it may take time, they will receive the vaccines to which they are entitled in a fair and transparent manner.”

Other legislators echo this sentiment in their comments, calling for centralization and more accessible information as part of this legislation.

“This is a vital piece of legislation we are putting forth in response to the immediate public health needs of our Commonwealth. The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania has been fragmented, hard to navigate, and has left behind our most vulnerable and at risk populations,” said Senator Cappelletti.

“Pennsylvanians continue to feel frustrated and hopeless with the ongoing confusion regarding the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and signup process,” said Senator Muth. “Streamlining the signup process is the only way to ensure vaccines are distributed in an equitable, timely, and organized manner, and that distribution data for all 67 counties can be easily found and interpreted and updated daily.”