A bill that would mobilize the Pennsylvania National Guard to help with the COVID-19 vaccination in the commonwealth is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk for consideration.
The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation authored by Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) that would have the National Guard assist with the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccinations throughout Pennsylvania.
“I’m pleased my Senate colleagues agreed on the importance of this legislation and quickly passed it in order for the commonwealth to improve its rate of getting COVID-19 shots in arms,” O’Neal said. “As a former guardsman, I have seen firsthand the capabilities our military has to deploy millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and thousands of people across the world in a timely and efficient manner. There is no reason why the guard cannot use its logistical expertise at home with the COVID-19 vaccine efforts.”
Within 45 days of House Bill 326 becoming law, the National Guard would work with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to establish and operate COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state.
In addition, within those 45 days, Wolf would submit to the General Assembly a report outlining how the National Guard has been integrated into the state’s vaccine plan.
It would include the availability and capacity of guard units for vaccinations and deployment to skilled nursing facilities to combat outbreaks, and current and anticipated allocation of COVID-19 vaccines.