Washington County Representative Tim O'Neal says he sees West Virginia's success using the National Guard to distribute the vaccine and wants the state to do the same.By Nicole Ford

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The House voted unanimously Friday for a bill that would deploy the Pennsylvania National Guard to help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The bill is sponsored by Washington County Representative Tim O’Neal. He says he sees the success of the vaccine distribution with the National Guard in West Virginia, a state that’s leading the charts for vaccinations while Pennsylvania is near the bottom.

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“When we are in a situation where we are telling people — anyone who wants the vaccine — to come and get it, that’s where the National Guard can really do the heavy lifting when we talk mass distribution. That’s why it’s important to get this rolling because there is some time to plan for those situations,” he said.

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O’Neal says the problem is logistics, and as a former National Guard member, he believes the military is equipped to take on this task.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, O’Neal believes the deployment would be down the line when more vaccine is available.

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The Senate will get the bill at the end of the month when lawmakers return to session. O’Neal is hopeful it could pass by March 1.