GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A local representative is questioning why a Mercer County pharmacy was abruptly terminated from the state’s eligible COVID-19 vaccine providers.
Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Crawford/Erie/Lawrence/Mercer) sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf in response to the termination of Bretton Walberg and Walberg Family Pharmacies from the program.
The state recently made a change to its system, favoring bigger providers over small pharmacies.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health says it’s trying to concentrate the providers receiving large quantities of the vaccine with a two-mile radius in urban areas, five miles in the suburbs and 30 miles in rural areas.
Read Wentling’s full letter to Gov. Wolf below:
Dear Governor Wolf:
I recognize that the Commonwealth has faced unprecedented challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the last year. I have worked with your offices and legislative liaisons in response to business closures, unemployment compensation issues and mitigation orders. I have continued to stress the importance of working together towards a common goal throughout the pandemic. Nonetheless, I am unable to understand or articulate why the actions of the Acting-Secretary of Health have resulted in one of the state’s leading vaccine providers being cut off from vaccine supply.
On March 17, 2021, based on the unilateral orders of the Department of Health, Mr. Bretton Walberg, owner of Walberg Family Pharmacies and a constituent, was removed from your focused vaccine provider list. It is my understanding that the decision was based on the need to reduce the vaccine providers to a more manageable level. However, I do not understand why this provider, in particular, was removed.
Mr. Walberg has operated vaccine clinics all over western Pennsylvania and administered over 37,000 vaccinations to citizens of the Commonwealth. Furthermore, he has been able to coordinate and train other vaccine providers. He has complied with recording mandates and the scheduling requirements you have demanded of him and still he was removed from your list.
I implore you to review your decision and reinstate the Walberg Family Pharmacies as a vaccine provider under your current policies. Please contact me for any additional information you would need in support of this measure. I appreciate your consideration.”