What to Know
- Anyone 16 and older in Philadelphia became eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine Friday afternoon.
- Dr. Thomas Farley, the commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Health, noted that not all vaccine slots were being used.
- Walk-ups are available at the FEMA vaccine clinics in Center City and North Philadelphia. And, you can also schedule an appointment online.
With demand for COVID vaccine appointments not always matching the current appointment supply, Philadelphia on Friday changed course and immediately opened up eligibility for vaccine doses to anyone 16 and older.
The city had originally planned on holding off on COVID vaccines for all adults in Philadelphia until Monday.
At a Friday afternoon news conference, however, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced the immediate change that was made after they heard from numerous pharmacies, hospitals and mass vaccine sites that were having difficulty filling vaccine slots while in the 1C Phase this week.
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"We don't want those vaccination slots to go unused," Farley said.
You can also just show up to the FEMA-run vaccine sites at Esperanza in North Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City to get a dose. Both sites are open for walk-ups this weekend.
The FEMA sites are using the Pfizer vaccine, which requires a second shot after three weeks, with the federal and state pause on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Farley is still encouraging everyone 65 and older to get a vaccine as soon as possible as they being given priority access.
As of Friday, nearly 650,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been given in Philadelphia. More than 438,000 people were fully vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus. About 1/4 of the people fully vaccinated don't reside in the city, according to city data.
The rest of Pennsylvania had already opened up eligibility to everyone 16 and older earlier this week. Delaware had also opened vaccine eligibility to all, while New Jersey planned on waiting until next week.
Spread of COVID-19 is continuing, not only in Philadelphia but around the country. Younger people -- many of whom until now weren't eligible for a vaccine -- are increasingly making up new cases.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said earlier this month that hospitals are seeing more younger adults admitted with coronavirus as more contagious variants spread.