Pre-register for the vaccine with Philly Fighting COVID, opening a clinic in Center City

When you sign up, you’ll get an alert as soon as your “phase” is eligible for inoculation.

By Danya Henninger, Jan. 08, 2021, 7:25 a.m.

Hall F of the Pennsylvania Convention Center is making a name for itself as the most important room in Philadelphia.

Home to the city’s ballot counting operation that helped decide the election two months ago, the vast exhibit hall at 12th and Arch streets now holds Philly’s first mass community COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Divided into zones that optimize the 125,000-square-foot space for safety and efficiency, the facility is being run by the folks behind Philly Fighting COVID, in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

The nonprofit, known as PFC, has also launched the city’s first sign-up site, where Philadelphians who want to get vaccinated can enter their info in advance.

“We’ve all been through a lot. But right now we have a chance to make the future better,” PFC says on its website. “The best way to stay up to date about when it’s your turn is to pre-commit to get your vaccine here.”

Friday morning, the Convention Center began inoculating the city’s 15,000 home health care workers, a subset of the “phase 1a” group, alongside hospital and other medical staff.

The clinic is intended to help speed the vaccine rollout, which has been slower than hoped across the country. Earlier this week, Philadelphia had used only 40% of its supply, Health Commissioner Tom Farley said. Asked about the lag, Farley blamed it on startup logistics, the recent holidays, and lack of funding from the federal government.

“There’s gonna be some initial process in setting up that inventory,” he said Tuesday. “All this is being done … by a public health system that has received zero federal funds for the dissemination of the vaccine.”

The new relief package passed by Congress earmarks $8 billion for vaccinations, but the money hasn’t yet gone out to cities and states.

Designed to vaccinate 300% more people than current pace

Philly Fighting COVID estimates the Center City pop-up will be able to inoculate between 100 and 450 people each hour, for a total of 1k to 4.5k people daily.

That would be a big boost. Currently the shots are given to an average of around 1,500 Philadelphians a day, according to health department data.

If that pace stayed the same, Commissioner Farley said, it could take until the end of 2021 for the whole city to get vaccinated. Hence the pop-up clinic, the first of several PFC has planned. When Philly gets enough doses to move beyond health care workers and into the next phase, you could be vaccinated there.

The best way to stay in the know? Sign up online at the PFC edition of COVIDreadi, the federal government-built portal for vaccine distribution planning. To clarify, this particular site is for Philadelphians only, and it does not reserve a place in line.

When you enter your info — including name, contact info, birth date, zip code, profession, and household members — you’re not exactly “registering,” since you’re not making an appointment and get no confirmation of a vaccination date.

When you pre-commit, you will:

  • Help PFC and the city decide where to set up clinics — expediting the rollout
  • Get an alert when people in your phase are being welcomed for vaccinations
  • Receive regular updates about the status of vaccine administration across the city

                                                                   Layout for the Convention Center vaccination clinicPHILLY FIGHTING COVID

Phases of vaccine distribution in Philly

Vaccine distribution in Philadelphia is currently being prioritized in the following phases, which follow CDC guidelines:

Phase 1a: Healthcare workers and staff, including home health workers, EMTs and volunteers at COVID testing sites, as well as residents of long-term care facilities (this is being handled by pharmacies who travel to nursing homes directly).

Phase 1b: High-risk essential workers/critical infrastructure workers not covered by Phase 1a, such as police, firefighters, teachers, grocery store workers, corrections officers, postal service workers, transit workers — plus people in congregate settings like correctional facilities, behavioral health facilities, and shelters.

Phase 1c: People age 65 and older who are living at home.

Phase 2: Moderate-risk essential workers and people at high risk of severe morbidity and mortality, including people with chronic health conditions.

Phase 3: All remaining Philadelphians.

Published by Billy Penn