Gov. Tom Wolf Discusses COVID-19 Vaccine with Eric Barron and Penn State Football

posted May 5, 2021 in Covid-19 by Andrew Destin.

To persuade Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated for COVID-19, the big guns were called into action.

Speaking in front of a cluster of media personnel Wednesday afternoon at Pegula Ice Arena were Gov. Tom Wolf, Penn State President Eric Barron, football coach James Franklin and tight end Theo Johnson as they discussed why citizens of the Commonwealth, and more specifically Centre County residents, should sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Although the last individual to approach the podium, Gov. Wolf encouraged people of all ages to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” because the sooner they get vaccinated, the quicker individuals can safely get back to doing what they enjoy.

Wolf also hammered home that the motivation for getting vaccinated should extend past the individual benefits.
“When you get vaccinated, of course you’re protected, but you’re also protecting the people around you,” Wolf said.

But before Wolf took the stage, Barron provided the opening remarks and articulated how in Centre County, college students and other members of the university community need to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“This is a place where we do what needs to be done,” Barron said about University Park. “Getting vaccinated is for the good of ourselves, our families and our friends.”

The university president said Pennsylvania is moving in the right direction but that the Commonwealth in general needs “to do better.” In order to return to a more normal lifestyle, Barron stressed the importance of leadership, commitment and community as it pertains to COVID-19 vaccinations.

He envisioned a near future where friends can safely go out to eat at restaurants, parents can take children to school and daycare and students are engaged in an in-person learning experience.

“I look forward to the day when we can all be protected from COVID-19,” Barron said. “I urge everyone to get the first available vaccine as soon as possible.”

Barron also discussed how communities across Pennsylvania are comprised of small business owners who have struggled to keep their companies afloat during what he called a time of “extreme economic distress.”

On the same token, Franklin vocalized how the recent announcement from Gov. Wolf about the lifting of several COVID-19 mitigations was received well by the football coach and the rest of his program in the hopes Beaver Stadium will have an increased capacity for games in the fall.

However, Franklin said he also understands “there’s so much work to be done” to safely have full stadiums again. First and foremost, he believes COVID-19 vaccines are the answer.

“The more people who are vaccinated, the better chance we have to get back to 107,000 strong here at Beaver Stadium,” Franklin said. “Last season wasn’t the same without the support of our amazing fans at home and on the road.”

Franklin, who himself is fully vaccinated, said he and his wife did so to protect not only themselves, but their daughter who has sickle cell disease. Outside of his family, Franklin emphasized how through the pandemic, his top priority has been both the health and safety of the students, coaches and other personnel who are involved with the program.

The easiest way to ensure the health and safety of the previously mentioned individuals in Franklin’s eyes is through vaccinations. From there, problems like attendance at sporting events will begin to solve themselves.

“This is not just about Penn State football,” Franklin said. “This is about the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Do your part to help us to get back into Beaver Stadium now.”

Wolf seconded Franklin’s remarks about getting patrons in the stands for larger sporting events. For the state’s governor, there is but one easy solution for fans — vaccination.

“Fans want to make sure they’re safe,” Wolf said. “I think the vaccinations are probably the best thing you can do to make sure that happens.”

Unlike states like New York, whose sports teams like the Yankees and Mets recently announced they would offer free tickets in return for getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Wolf doesn’t believe members of the Commonwealth require such motivation.

Instead, the chance of returning to “normal” life as quickly as possible should be enough to push citizens in the right direction.

“Pennsylvanians are used to doing the right thing for the people around them,” Wolf said.


Andrew Destin is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email