Eligible people in Philadelphia's Phase 1B could get the coronavirus vaccine at a mass clinic starting Feb. 22, the city announced Tuesday, while cautioning those farther back in the line that the current phase could take weeks.
The city's health department will run three first-dose clinics and three second-dose clinics per week with a goal of vaccinating about 500 patients per day, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told reporters.
The health department will reach out to people and ask them to make their appointment. It will go down its list of eligible people in Phase 1B who have filled out the vaccine interest signup form at phila.gov/vaccineinterest. People without reliable internet access or computer skills can get signed up through the city’s COVID Call Center at 215-685-5488.
To be eligible for the vaccine in Philly's Phase 1B, as of Feb. 2 people should fit one of the following groups:
- Over the age of 75;
- With certain high-risk health conditions: cancer, chronic kidney disease, or a recent organ transplant;
- Frontline essential workers like jail staff, first responders and service providers who work with vulnerable people.
- Transit workers are in Phase 1B but are not getting vaccinated in the first part of this phase. Farley said transit workers will be up next.
- The School District of Philadelphia is expected to resume hybrid learning this month, but it's not clear if the vaccines will be made available to teachers by then. Other schools have had in person sessions with sparse reports of in-school spread.
Farley was awaiting more details after President Joe Biden announced the federal government will expand vaccine dose shipments to pharmacies. It's not clear how many more doses Philly will get, but it would add to the city's current allotment of 20,000 Pfizer and Moderna doses each week.
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Those newly announced extra doses would go to Rite Aid and Shop Rite pharmacies. The city will contact eligible people - who signed up on the vaccine interest form - and refer them to those pharmacies' appointment slots as they become available.
Vaccinating Philly Fighting COVID Patients
The city is also tying up loose ends after cutting ties with a vaccine provider whose practices raised questions. Acting Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Caroline Johnson resigned this weekend after it was revealed she gave info about a proposal to some, but not all, applicants to administer vaccine doses, including Philly Fighting COVID.
The group, led by 22-year-old Drexel grad student Andrei Doroshin, shifted to vaccinations after manufacturing PPE and running testing sites. It administered shots to about 6,700 people at the Pennsylvania Convention Center before the city shut down the arrangement over concerns about patient data and a shift to for-profit status.
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 3, the city's health department will run second-dose clinics for patients who received their first dose from Philly Fighting COVID.
Farley said clinics will take place each day this week until Feb. 6. About 2,500 people will get their second doses at this clinic this week.
More clinics will be scheduled for next week, and an expectation of vaccinating about 4,400 people.
In a letter last week, Mayor Jim Kenney asked Farley to give doses that would have gone to Philly Fighting COVID to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. The BDCC is receiving 2,000 doses this week and will have 2,500 next week. It shifted its clinic Tuesday from a West Philadelphia church to Temple University's Liacouras Center due to snow, Kenney said.