The FEMA's mass vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center

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The more than 250,000 Philadelphians who’ve signed up with the city to express interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine will finally be assured their info made it into the official database.

Starting this week, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will begin sending regular email updates to everyone on the list, according to spokesperson James Garrow. The notes will go out in seven languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese — depending on what was indicated when you signed up. Text messages will also be sent if you included your mobile number.

Here is the English version of the first update, sent to some registrants on Friday.

Automated confirmation emails are also now immediately being sent to all new people who sign up at, Health Commissioner Tom Farley said Tuesday. Early signups weren’t acknowledged, and there was no way to check if your registration went through, causing much confusion.

Knowing whether or not you’re in the Health Department registry is critical, since it’s the main pool from which vaccine invitations are sent to Philly residents..

You have to be registered there to get invited to make an appointment at the new FEMA-run Center City Vaccination Center, for example, and some health clinics and pharmacies in Philadelphia also use the city registry.

Going forward, the city will send regular updates every few weeks to anyone still awaiting vaccination, according to Garrow, the Health Department spokesperson.

These email updates will include clarification on the city’s current priority scheme and who’s eligible, according to an early version viewed by Billy Penn, along with the latest numbers showing how many doses have been administered, and which kinds of providers are giving the shots.

The Health Dept. email also has information about allergic reactions to the vaccine, which are very rare, and links to the city COVID tracking dashboard and coronavirus FAQ.

Philadelphia is currently vaccinating people in Phase 1A and 1B: health care works and home health aides, people over the age of 75, high-risk essential workers in public-facing positions, and people with certain high-risk medical conditions. The city doesn’t expect to finish this group and move to Phase 1C until the end of April, Health Commissioner Farley has said. That cohort could take until the end of May to complete, and then the invites will be open to everyone over the age of 16.

When the invitation does come, what will it look like, so you can be prepared? It’ll carry an email address of, according to Garrow (that’s a no-reply address; questions should go to instead).

Once you’ve signed up for an appointment, Garrow said, the confirmation comes from PrepMod, which appears as: Vaccination Clinics <>.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...