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A University of Pennsylvania Health System hospital discontinued its policy of vaccinating employees’ family members through a lottery system.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

A University of Pennsylvania Health System hospital discontinued its policy of vaccinating employees’ family members through a lottery system.

Penn Medicine’s Vice President for Public Affairs Patrick Norton told The Associated Press that approximately 1,600 relatives of employees at Chester Country Hospital who met the state’s eligibility requirements were vaccinated through the blind lottery system. The University of Pennsylvania Health System discontinued the practice after discussions with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, CBS Philly reported

Geisinger, a health network with facilities in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, also gave employees’ family members vaccines, AP News reported. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has said that Geisinger should not have set aside vaccines for staff members’ relatives. 

Some Chester County Hospital employees felt that the lottery system was a perk they were given for working in a hospital during the pandemic, Fox 29 Philadelphia reported

Penn health experts previously expressed concerns about equitable vaccine distribution during a virtual discussion with Penn Democrats on Feb. 4 . Chester County Hospital’s website explains that it is “endeavoring to be responsible stewards of the vaccines [they] received from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.” 

Chester County, the sixth most populous county in the state, has received 14,748 doses per 100,000 residents, fewer per capita than some rural counties throughout the state, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Philadelphia suburbs are now calling upon the federal government to increase their vaccine allotment.

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