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Black Doctors Holding 24 hour Vax-a-thon at Temple Univ. for people in West Philadelphia and others.

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium will host the city’s first 24-hour, walk-up vaccination site Friday through Saturday afternoon at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St.

On a first-come, first-serve basis, Philadelphians who qualify under the city’s 1B vaccination category, and who live in zip codes identified by the organization as “hardest hit” by the coronavirus, can visit the site from Noon Friday, Feb. 19, through Noon Saturday, Feb. 20, to receive a dose.

Philadelphians ages 75 and up may get vaccinated regardless of their zip code. All other residents must be in the 1B category and must bring an ID or other form of documentation, such as a cable or utility bill, verifying their residency in the following zip codes: 19131, 19151, 19139, 19104, 19143, 19142, 19153, 19145, 19146, 19123, 19121, 19132, 19140, 19144, 19119, 19138, 19126, 19141, 19150, 19124.

Attendees must also bring a form of identification or documentation showing they fall under the 1B category. This includes: first responders, employees and residents of long-term care facilities, food distribution and preparation employees, public transit personnel, child-care providers, teachers, and people with high-risk medical conditions. It also includes employees in high-volume retail and manufacturing.

Most vaccines administered are expected to be first doses, and appointments for second doses will be scheduled on site.

The weather is expected to drop below freezing by the evening, so consortium founder Dr. Ala Stanford said residents should plan accordingly and dress warm. “If you’re not a cold-weather person, I don’t suggest you come out,” she said.

She encouraged residents to come during the off-hours if possible to avoid long lines and said that “since we will be here late and after work, take the extra effort to bring an elderly or disabled person who needs a ride.”

Stanford said there will be multiple lines to divide residents — including one for people receiving a second dose, one for individuals ages 75 and up, another for people in the preregistered group, and one for people who need information in a non-English language. People who preregistered with the consortium should print out their email confirmation, or have it available to show on their phones.

This will be the first overnight clinic and walk-up clinic in the city, as all other vaccination sites are by appointment only. The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, a physicians group, has been running testing sites in Black communities for nearly a year and has focused on bringing racial equity to the vaccination process, too.

“When African Americans have represented more than 50% of deaths from COVID, I think we need to do better, and that’s what I’m focused on and have been from the beginning,” Stanford said.

Stanford said that if the site is successful this weekend, the organization will host more, maybe as often as once a month. She said she hopes that by mid-March, once the group finishes vaccinating all of its preregistered members, it would operate all clinics on a walk-up basis.

“I just am trying really hard to keep the vaccine in the city and in the communities where it’s spread the most,” she said.

Stanford said they are specifically vaccinating the 1B group because hospitals and pharmacies have already received vaccines dedicated for people in the 1A group.

Philadelphia has seen vast racial disparities among the vaccine rollout thus far. While more than 40% of Philadelphians are Black, they have received about 20% of the more than 156,000 doses administered in the city, though that number has steadily improved. White people have received about 56% of the city’s doses.

Locally and nationally, Black Americans are more likely to be hospitalized and die of COVID-19. But more than 50% of the Black community is skeptical of the vaccine, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, partially due to a legacy of mistreatment by the medical profession.

Last week, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium instituted stricter measures, like requiring proof of residency and medical condition, at its clinics after people who were not at an increased risk of serious illness or death or who didn’t live in the communities where the clinics are opening were showing up.

“Allowing a walk-up clinic like this one helps us hit our three guiding principles for vaccination: Getting the vaccine out as fast as possible, saving the most lives, and racial equity,” said Matt Rankin, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. “We have more work to do, but this is one way we are making progress in those areas.”

Staff writers Jason Laughlin and Aubrey Whalen contributed to this Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Posted: February 18, 2021 - 9:53 AM


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