Story at a glance
- A 24-hour vaccination clinic run by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium administered vaccines to nearly 4,000 people.
- Vaccine rates are particularly low in communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Black, Indigenous and other Americans of color have a mistrust of the vaccine grounded in the racist history of the medical field.
Nearly 4,000 Philadelphians were vaccinated at a walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic run by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium last month, more than the city had been vaccinating on average each day.
“The end goal was for everybody in line to get vaccinated, and they did,” physician Ala Stanford told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “From that perspective, I would call it a success, but room for improvement.”
BREAKING NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Pretty amazing the scene at the @LiacourasCenter right now. Hundreds lined up in the sleet and freezing rain to get their vaccine at the #BlackDoctorsCovid19Consortium 24-hour vaccine-a-thon. @NBCPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/ESpLOw45QC— Danny Freeman (@DannyEFreeman) February 19, 2021
Despite freezing temperatures, 1,500 people were already in line when the site first opened on Feb. 19, just a fraction of the thousands of requests that shut down the vaccine registration on the consortium’s website. The city is “already in conversations with them on how we can keep that from happening again,” Mayor Jim Kenney told the Inquirer. But, he said, “don’t lose sight of the fact that it was a very successful event.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing to open a mass vaccination clinic in City Center, which Kenney said will have the capacity to serve up to 6,000 people a day. Currently, vaccines are only available to front line workers, elderly residents and those with high-risk medical conditions.
This impressive operation will help us deliver vaccine to up to 6,000 Philadelphians per day. The site receives doses of vaccine directly from the federal government, allowing @PHLPublicHealth to continue standing up community vaccination sites using the City’s own allotment.— Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) March 2, 2021
The 24-hour-clinic targeted elderly residents and those in the "hardest-hit" zip codes. Seven out of every 10 vaccinations were given to Black, Asian, or Latino residents, groups that account for only 30 percent of vaccinations citywide, according to data from the Black Doctors COVID Consortium and the Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health reported by the Inquirer.
Nationwide, white people have been getting vaccinated at higher rates than Black and Latino Americans, according to a January report, despite research showing Black, Indigenous, Latino and other people of color are more likely to contract COVID-19 than white people. In addition to a rocky rollout in some areas, lack of internet access, transportation and access to health care coupled with mistrust of the medical community are preventing many of those who most need it from being inoculated.
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