Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf visited the Doylestown area on March 19, 2021 to tour the vaccine clinic hosted by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU). The vaccine clinic was part of a Commonwealth-wide initiative to vaccinate school employees and contractors. The Governor was greeted by Bucks IU Executive Director, Dr. Mark Hoffman, and Bucks IU Deputy Executive Director, Rebecca Roberts-Malamis. Accompanying the Governor on a tour of the Bucks IU clinic were Rich Askey, President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA),
and Dr. Chuck Lentz, Superintendent of the New Hope-Solebury School District.
As a part of the vaccine clinic tour, the Governor observed Amy Stribling, a Bucks IU Head Start Site Assistant, get a COVID-19 vaccine (photo bottom right). Amy expressed gratitude for the opportunity to receive the vaccine as a new employee of the Bucks IU.
During the press conference, Bucks IU Executive Director, Dr. Mark Hoffman welcomed the Governor by stating, “The Bucks IU is grateful to the Governor and other partners in the Commonwealth for setting aside more than 7,000 vaccines for Bucks County school employees and contractors. As a result of the Commonwealth’s efforts, our Bucks County students, their families, and school staff are safely assured that in-person instruction can continue in our schools. The Bucks IU is honored to be a part of this historic effort to vaccinate all school employees and contractors.”
The Governor shared details on Pennsylvania’s progress in getting Pre‑K to 12 educators and other school staff vaccinated. The Governor stated that as of that morning, 83,859 school employees had received the J&J Vaccine through the Commonwealth’s vaccine initiative. By the end of that weekend, all 94,600 doses in the initial J&J vaccine allocation would be administered, nearly two weeks before the original goal of the end of March. In addition, the commonwealth was able to secure 13,000 more doses the week before, for a total 107,600 doses. The administration requested another 13,000 doses for that following week. The Governor reported that the vast majority of educators and support staff who wished to receive a vaccine would be vaccinated by the end of March.
The Wolf Administration collaborated with 28 Intermediate Units (IUs), the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), the Pennsylvania National Guard, and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to administer the J&J vaccine to school employees and contractors across the Commonwealth.
“This special vaccination initiative is moving incredibly swiftly thanks to the tremendous work of the intermediate units, school districts, Pennsylvania National Guard, and state agencies,” said Governor. Wolf. “This has been an incredibly challenging year, and the success of these vaccine clinics is another reminder that Pennsylvanians are rising to the challenge.”
Following Governor Wolf’s comments, Mr. Rich Askey, President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) spoke to reporters. He thanked the Wolf Administration and the efforts of the IUs to get educational personnel vaccinated
“PSEA members have gone above and beyond to teach and serve our students,” said PSEA President Rich Askey. “But we want to be with our students – in school and in person. The vaccination program that Gov. Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force created will help to get our schools open and our students learning.”
Dr. Charles Lentz, Superintendent of Schools for the New Hope-Solebury School District, also addressed those gathered, and spoke on behalf of the thirteen Bucks County School District Superintendents and Career Technical Centers. Dr. Lentz praised the efforts of the Bucks IU and thanked the Governor for his efforts to help school districts safely return to in-person instruction.
Senator Steve Santarsiero thanked the Governor and his staff for their COVID-19 safety initiatives as well as the efforts to get all of the citizens of Bucks County and Pennsylvania vaccinated.
The vaccine clinic at the Bucks IU continued through Saturday, March 20, 2021 for educators and support staff. Registration was managed through each school district and the state’s contracted agency, AMI Expeditionary Healthcare.