coronavirus vaccine

Philly Canceling Ineligible Appointments as FEMA Coronavirus Vaccine Site Opens

The mass vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia is for people in the 1A and 1B vaccination phases, not others

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What to Know

  • Philadelphia and federal officials marked the opening of FEMA's coronavirus vaccine site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Tuesday.
  • The site opens to the public for anyone in the 1A or 1B phases of Philadelphia's vaccine rollout plan.
  • Mayor Jim Kenney called out anyone who signed up for a vaccine after links were shared but don't qualify, at this point. “Don’t try to jump the line and have some self respect... people who you are jumping the line on are old and sick and may die as a result of it," the Democrat said.

As Philadelphia's FEMA mass coronavirus vaccination site started giving out doses, the City warned that not everyone who signed up online would get a dose after some people jumped the line.

After links to the vaccine sign-up site were shared Monday among people who didn't meet the qualifications for vaccination, at this point, the Philadelphia Health Department said that anyone not in the 1A or 1B groups, or who doesn't live in Philadelphia, would have their appointment canceled.

The 1A group includes health care workers at a high-risk for exposure. The 1B group includes people 75 years or older, people with high-risk medical conditions, those who live in congregate settings, first responders and essential workers in public transit, child care, food service and other jobs.

Not everyone using the sign-up site said it was clear if they had met the criteria. Mayor Jim Kenney said Tuesday that it is up to people to "examine your conscience" and not jump ahead of others who need the vaccine more. He said the city is working on an IT solution to prevent ineligible people from using public sign-up links in the future.

Kenney joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other officials for a tour of the facility Tuesday morning.

Mayorkas said the site should bring equitable access to those needed. “Your socio-economic status, race or your immigration status should not impact your ability to get vaccine,” he said.

FEMA last week revealed details about the operation of the coronavirus vaccination site, which opens to the public Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Some eligible city, state and federal workers identified as frontline or essential were getting their vaccines already on Tuesday.

The vaccination site -- which is set to run seven days a week for at least the next eight weeks -- will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., supported by uniformed military. The U.S. Army is coordinating and helping FEMA with the site.

This is a Tier 1 vaccination site, which can administer up to 6,000 shots per day. It will receive doses directly from federal supply, separate from the city's allocation that's spread out to pharmacies, health centers, and more. A Tier 2 site, which FEMA says can handle up to 3,000 vaccinations per day, opened in Juniata Park.

The city's health department is scheduling appointments for the Convention Center site with people who filled out the vaccine interest form at - or called 311 for assistance getting signed up.

The clinic will not take walk-ins or anyone without a scheduled appointment. The health department may give you an appointment at the mass site, or spot administering vaccines in the city.

The site will have on-site Spanish and American Sign Language translators, and signage in five total non-English languages. Interpreters for other language are available on-call.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not have enforcement at the site, according to FEMA.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the Convention Center -- where a previous site run by Philly Fighting COVID earlier gave out doses -- was selected as a location because of its proximity to public transit and parking garages.

He said the groups selected for vaccines at the Convention Center will be "oversampled" from undervaccinated neighborhoods. At the beginning of vaccinating in Philly, many doses went to health care workers who live outside the city.

A racial disparity in the people who have received the vaccine has lessened since January but does not reflect the proportions of the city's population overall.

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