Gov. Wolf asks elected official to assist with vaccine efforts

Vaccinate Central Pa.

Blair County, Pa (WTAJ)- Governor Wolf and bipartisan COVID-19 vaccine Task Force sent a letter Thursday to ask local officials for help with the vaccine efforts. This letter asked officials to support the Commonwealth’s efforts and encouraged locals in their community to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is an important way that all of us can keep our family, friends, and community members safe,” Gov. Wolf said. “From a more contagious and more dangerous variant of COVID-19.”

This effort comes from the rise in the number of new Delta variant cases in the nation. The letter says to use all means at their disposal. That includes social media, events, and newsletters to encourage locals to take steps to get the vaccine.

Local Blair County officials are aware of what the Governor is asking, but they are unsure what they can do. That is because of the numerous places there is to get a vaccine.

Altoona City Councilman, Jesse Ickes, believes they’ve done all they could do at the local level. The only next best thing is to continue to have the vaccine available to anyone that wants it.

“At the local level, as far as things we can do to require, it’s really not up to the government to do that,” Ickes said. “Really, our job is to enable public availability, which to this point has been done.”

As of Monday, Blair County has around 48 percent of the population with at least one dose of the vaccine. 30th District State Senator Judy Ward thinks it’s a personal choice to receive the vaccine or not. The reasons behind not getting the vaccine to vary from person to person.

“For people, it should remain a personal choice. I can share my story and rationale,” Wolf said. “But for everybody, everybody’s situation is different, so it should remain a personal decision.”

Both officials are not sure whether the rise in cases will determine if there will be an increase in the vaccine urgency. They know from most of their respected areas that citizens are looking to return to normal.

Pennsylvania recorded 3,019 new cases between Saturday, July 31, and Monday, August 2. 63.2% of Pennsylvanians ages 18 and older are now fully vaccinated.

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