Philly’s coronavirus response

City says to re-register if you signed up with Philly Fighting COVID, cut off from vaccines

The Health Department says it’s planning a new mass vaccination clinic.

The community COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Pa. Convention Center

The community COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Pa. Convention Center

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
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The city has cut off vaccine supply to Philly Fighting COVID after the group switched to a for-profit model and dropped community testing partners, as reported by WHYY and Billy Penn last week. People who got their first doses with PFC will be moved to a new provider, the city health department said.

Health officials are asking people to register again on the site set up by the city, which was announced on Jan. 19 and rolled out two days later, a couple of weeks after the PFCs sign-up went live.

For folks who pre-registered with PFC, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health “strongly recommend[s]” entering your info again at the city site:

https://www.phila.gov/vaccineinterest

“By registering through this website, the Health Department will be able to contact you to set up an appointment when you are eligible and vaccine is available,” said a statement provided by department spokesperson James Garrow.

A Jan. 8 release from the department encouraged people to sign up with Philly Fighting COVID.

“Everyone else in Philadelphia is being encouraged to begin the registration process for a vaccine by pre-committing for a vaccine at www.PhillyFightingCovid.com,” said the city’s release.

“The pre-commitment form requires Philadelphians interested in a vaccine to provide personal information, including their name, contact information, occupation, and where they live and work, and signs them up to receive updates about the status of vaccine administration across the City and when it’s their turn to be vaccinated.”

If you’re one of the people who already got their first dose through PFC, know that the Health Department has your information and says it’s planning to get another clinic up and running.

“We are working to set up another clinic, run by the Health Department or another partner, that will be held on the day that they will be eligible to get their second dose,” the city said. “Once that gets figured out, we will be in contact and work with them to set up an appointment. We already have second doses reserved for these clinics.”

The city confirmed to WHYY it has received at least seven applications for its community vaccination request for proposals, including from major health systems Penn Medicine, Einstein and Temple Health.

If selected, Temple plans to set up a network of mobile vans offering community vaccines, Penn will partner with a Federally Qualified Health Clinic, and Einstein will set up a space near the Olney Transportation Center, where it has been offering testing. That group hopes to be up and running by March 1.

The city’s decision to stop working with PFC hinged on the group’s updated privacy policy, Garrow said, which “could allow the organization to sell data collected through PFC’s pre-registration site” — though the city said it has no proof any data was sold.

“[F]or PFC to have made these changes without discussion with the City is extremely troubling,” he said.

The pre-registration site became a source of turmoil last week, after WHYY and Billy Penn reported that the city and the start-up were not working in tandem on the early sign-up page, as they initially announced they would. Days later, the city launched its own COVID registration site. The Health Department indicated it would work to consolidate information from all existing sign-ups, including those run by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and Acme Markets.

Billy Penn’s Max Marin contributed to this report.

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