City administers COVID vaccines as case counts drop

by Kate Dolan
Posted 1/27/21

Philadelphia residents who are in Phase 1B of the city’s vaccination distribution plan are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

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City administers COVID vaccines as case counts drop

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Philadelphia residents who are in Phase 1B of the city’s vaccination distribution plan are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

Frontline essential workers, those who live in congregate care settings, people over the age of 75 and those with certain high-risk medical conditions including cancer and diabetes, are included in Phase 1B. The city’s website provides access to a full list and offers specific guidance to the vaccination plan, including who is considered a frontline essential worker and a schedule of priority among those workers.

All documents and forms are available at phila.gov/programs/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-documents

Even as the process moves along, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley still urged patience among residents, explaining that with low numbers of doses available and a large population, it will take some time to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1B. Even those eligible may not receive a vaccination immediately.

“The people who meet those criteria are a very large group,” said Farley at the COVID-19 update press conference, Tuesday, January 19. “There are some 93,000 people in Philadelphia who are over the age of 75 and over 130,000 people who have diabetes. So, even if only some of those people want vaccine, it’s going to take many weeks to get through that list.”

The city will continue to vaccinate health care workers who are eligible in Phase 1A who have not been vaccinated yet. As of Tuesday’s press conference, the city had vaccinated 72,481 people with the first doses, and 15,662 people have received second doses.

The move to Phase 1B was one of several announcements the city made this week in regards to vaccination distribution.

This morning, school nurses were able to get vaccinated at an invitation-only clinic at Abraham Lincoln High School in Northeast Philadelphia. Set up by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Philadelphia School District, “this clinic will ensure that [school nurses] are ready to care for students throughout the city, allowing us to start to get things back to normal,” stated the city’s press release.

The city also announced Vaccine Interest Sign up. This tool will allow Philadelphia residents who are interested in getting the vaccine to complete an interest form online and the health department or one of the city’s vaccine distribution partners will then contact them when they can set up an appointment.

The tool is currently up and running and residents in any eligibility group can sign up. Appointments cannot be made at this time but the tool ensures residents that when they are eligible and there is enough vaccine, they will be contacted.

The health department is only receiving a limited number of doses and Farley continues to update the public with exact figures during the press conferences. While sharing the information the health department gets from the federal government, Farley reiterated that the process will take months to vaccinate everyone.

“We’ve been told that we will continue to receive about 20,000 doses per week of the two vaccines combined, plus the appropriate second doses on a weekly basis through the end of February,” said Farley. “If that’s true, we will continue to have a very limited supply through the end of February.”

Even as total confirmed cases of COVID-19 exceeded 100,000 this week, daily case counts continue to drop in Philadelphia. By Friday, 367 new cases were announced bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 102,901 in the city. The number of deaths announced on Friday, January 22, was 28, bringing the total to 2,786. The health department reported 499 patients with COVID-19 are in Philadelphia hospitals as of last Friday morning.

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