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State Senate approves legislation allowing Pa. National Guard to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

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Spc. Anthony Pittz with the Idaho Army National Guard collects information from patients waiting to be tested for COVID-19 in the parking lot of Saint Alphonsus Health Plaza in Meridian, Idaho Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Wednesday, the state Senate approved legislation allowing members of the Pa. National Guard to aid in the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

Supported by Pa. Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), the bill expands the National Guard’s authority in distributing and administering the vaccine to group 1A individuals, in addition to maintaining facilities and providing support to healthcare providers during the pandemic.

“All of our neighboring states are further along in the vaccination of their eligible population,” Phillips-Hill said. “The administration’s failed unilateral rollout of the vaccine has further demonstrated that its go-it-alone approach has not worked. The unanimous support of this legislation shows people on both sides of the aisle are frustrated and seeking to be part of the solution.”

Want the latest on the coronavirus vaccine in Pa.? Visit acb27.com/vaccine for more information

According to the state Senate, the National Guard will operate under the Pa. Department of Health and Human Services to collect, secure, and transport doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. if requested, members who have the necessary training would also be able to administer the vaccine, as well.

“The bill could help improve Pennsylvania’s troubled roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine,” the state Senate said in a release.

Pennsylvania currently ranks 46th in the nation in terms of the percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered.

House Bill 326 would also allow for the creation of mass vaccination sites throughout Pennsylvania.

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