What You Need To Know: Impeachment, vaccine shortages, and the May primary

Written by on February 12, 2021

What You Need To Know: Impeachment, vaccine shortages, and the May primary

By Brad Klein & Jen Rehill

February 12, 2021

A nurse of the Public Health Service prepares a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Don Orione rest home in Rome, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. Elderly at Don Orione rest home received the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday in Rome, in a second round of vaccinations following those for health workers last week. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

It’s WLVR’s regular Friday feature, What You Need to Know. WLVR’s Brad Klein and News Director Jen Rehill discuss the week’s top stories and look forward to next week. 

Topics include WLVR and NPR’s live special coverage of the impeachment trial in the Senate, and how that fits in with the station’s mission to the Lehigh Valley. On the subject of COVID-19 vaccination, worrying shortages may interfere with existing appointments in the week ahead, although the final status of vaccine supply is not yet known for sure. And it’s not too early to start thinking about election day 2021. Primaries are approaching, and reminders are in the mail, for voters who are requesting mail-in ballots.

Listen to the story.

Brad Klein

“Jen, it’s deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra is said to have said. We’re back in the Senate trial of Donald J. Trump for the second time.” 

Jen Rehill

“Brad, you know, it seems like this is where we started with our local news effort a year ago. One of the first big news events that we covered was the live impeachment trial we carried live on air last January. And here we are back again.” 


“And that’s become sort of a trademark of WLVR, sort of part of our mission in the community to bring special live coverage when events warrant it.”


“And this sure is a historic event. It’s the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, and it’s all part of that mission that you talked about, like really thinking about bringing fair-minded, balanced objective news coverage and analysis from real professional journalists. And I think that’s what you get when NPR is anchoring coverage like this.” 


“They do an amazing job, and you really get a sense of the inside in the depth of knowledge that the correspondents bring to their beats when they have to handle live events as they unfold in real-time.” 


“Agreed. And there’s nothing quite like that level of context, which I think when you’re listening to a trial like this, you really need to understand what’s happening and what might happen.”


“Moving from impeachment to COVID-19 vaccination efforts, on Feb. 10 we reported the sort of shocking news from Lehigh Valley Health Network that they had just gotten word that they may get no new vaccines from the state next week and that that could affect hundreds or even thousands of appointments and people’s vaccination schedules in the Lehigh Valley. Is that right?” 


LVHN vaccinates thousands of people every week, and they broke that news on our show Community Update on Coronavirus , which airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on PBS39 at 4 p.m. and on WLVR at 9:30 p.m. Since that time we have a new update. Now they’re saying they are going to get some vaccines from the state next week, but it’s unclear how many. So far, LVHN hasn’t canceled any appointments, but they did say that some of the appointments are for second doses. So this is pretty significant and serious for people who are waiting for their second dose.” 

“And it also really speaks to this larger issue of Pennsylvania’s handling of the vaccine rollout, telling a major health system that it’s not getting any vaccines is shocking, as you said. 

“We also reached out to Allentown and Bethlehem Health bureaus and St. Luke’s University Health Network. They say they haven’t gotten any projections yet from the state, so we’ll stay tuned on that. And we’ll be sure to bring folks updates as we know more about whether appointments may be changed or rescheduled.”


“Well, Jen, is it too early to look toward election 2021? I know the answer. It’s not, is it?”


“Brad, the bad news is no. And I know we’re still wrapping up the fallout from the last election in November, but in fact we do have a primary coming up on May 18 and candidates across the Lehigh Valley are declaring for a variety of municipal races. 

“Some of the hot ones include the Allentown Mayor Race and the City Council race there, and the Northampton County Executive race. So we do have to start talking about elections again.

“And we’re going to have to continue our conversation about mail-in ballots. This is something a lot of folks maybe would have hoped to have left in 2020, but we still can vote by mail-in ballot here in Pennsylvania. Reminders are going out and hitting mailboxes this month for folks to apply for those ballots for the next election or to renew if they want to vote that way again.” 


“That’s really how we started “What You Need to Know.” Originally, it was about what you need to know to be sure your vote is counted and we’re going to have to do that in elections going forward as well.”


“We’re going to stay on it, Brad, and we’re going to stay on all the developments, whether they’re legislative changes to how to vote. We’re just going to keep going and making sure that everyone has the information they need.” 

‘What You Need to Know’ is a regular Friday feature on WLVR. Catch up with the least episodes HERE.


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