Commissioners’ Plea for More Vaccines Prompts Journalist’s Probe of Suburbs’ Supply


After watching a press conference hosted by the Chester County Commissioners, Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Maria Panaritis started to investigate the undersupply of vaccines in the four suburban counties, which is home to 2.5 million people, writes Lauren Aguirre for The Inquirer.

Montgomery County is home to over 830K residents, with only around 57K fully vaccinated.

“They asked the Pennsylvania Department of Health from a podium in West Chester, send us more vaccines,” Panaritis recalled the Commissioners saying.

Even before the press conference, the journalist had noticed chatter on social media and elsewhere about suburban Philadelphia being shortchanged, but it was after that when she really delved into the issue.

She looked at the numbers being put out by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and found incredible disparities between the Commonwealth’s more rural areas and Philadelphia’s collar counties.

She then focused on calling officials to try to understand the distribution pipeline and learn more about their experiences.

Her first column out of three regarding the 2.5 million people that were being underserved was used by both county and state officials in meetings with Pennsylvania’s health secretary, as they continued to request more vaccines.

“My reader e-mail and voicemail has been overloaded with appreciative, grateful messages and tips from readers across the region,” said Panaritis.

Read more about the probe into the shortage of vaccines in the suburbs in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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