By Niva Cohen
Jack. M Barrack Hebrew Academy '23
Pharmacies in the City of Philadelphia plan to administer vaccines to people 75 years and older starting in mid-February.
Rite Aid and ShopRite will expand their vaccine eligibility from only essential health-care workers to include all adults 75 and up. Unlike those in neighboring counties, Philadelphians 65 and older have had few opportunities to get vaccinated so far. Now, the 20,000 doses that Philadelphia gets weekly will be available to all 91,000 within the oldest age bracket.
To sign up for a vaccine, one can go to the city website and book an appointment. The site will notify individuals when their group’s turn comes. For the senior citizens who are uncomfortable using the internet, there is a hotline where workers can help them find vaccination centers and schedule appointments. City officials expect availability to go quickly, considering the explosive demand for and limited supply of vaccines.
Health centers will try to ensure that the most vulnerable make appointments before they run out by contacting patients with necessary information. However, seniors who cannot safely leave their homes will not receive immunizations, as there are not enough resources for door-to-door vaccine services. Officials hope that by inoculating their caregivers, the city will be able to protect those at greatest risk from COVID-19.
As for the rest of Philadelphia’s residents, CVS expects to open up vaccination to the general public in the spring. It says that by April or May, its 10,000 pharmacies will be equipped to move on to the next phases of vaccine rollout.
These advances in vaccinations come after the Philadelphia Department of Public Health abruptly ended its partnership with Philly Fighting COVID (PFC). 22-year-old Andrei Doroshin, the CEO of PFC, was running the logistics of Philadelphia vaccinations. The city hastily cut all ties with PFC upon learning that it might sell users’ information without telling them. Doroshin even confessed to stealing vaccines for his friends. With the partnership in its rear-view mirror, though, the City of Philadelphia looks ahead.