coronavirus vaccine

FEMA Will Open Mass Vaccination Site at Pa. Convention Center

The site will be filled with doses supplied from the federal government and could administer shots to as many as 6,000 people a day.

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Philadelphia will soon have a mass vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center once again, with help from FEMA, officials said Friday.

The site will receive an allocation of coronavirus vaccine doses directly from the federal government, adding to the city's supply.

The site could open as soon as March 3, though the agencies involved say they'll send a later update with an exact date.

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"We do think that the Convention Center can handle the large volume...a Type 1 site is supposed to be 6,000 people per day, which is quite a few people. But it's a very large Convention Center and it's got great transportation access for both people driving as well as taking public transit," Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

“Every city in the country, including Philadelphia, is currently struggling with not having enough COVID vaccine to meet the demand of their residents, so this center will make a huge difference," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.

FEMA, the CDC and the federal Department of Health and Human Services will help staff and run the site.

Officials said the Convention Center was selected because of its large size and proximity to major transit lines, and can be accessed by people in vulnerable communities.

The news of this site's opening follows public pressure from City Council to get a mass vaccination site at Lincoln Financial Field up and running. Farley had said a clinic at the Linc would face weather issues and people from the suburbs trying to drive in for shots.

The Convention Center was previously the site of Philly Fighting COVID's vaccine clinic that focused on home health workers. The group administered nearly 7,000 shots before the city ended its partnership, amid concerns that the company's leader had taken doses for himself and changed to for-profit status.

The city's health department later ran a clinic at the Convention Center itself, giving second doses to people who received their first doses from PFC.

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