Pa. coronavirus update: Philly’s weekly vaccinations nearly double with new FEMA site

People wait in line at a FEMA Community Vaccination Center at the Pennsylvania Convention Center

People wait in line at a FEMA Community Vaccination Center at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Updated: 3:30 p.m.

Weekly vaccinations nearly double with new FEMA site, more local sites coming

The number of weekly vaccinations in Philadelphia has almost doubled.

During the last week in February — before FEMA opened its vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on March 3 — 51,300 doses were administered. The week that ended last Sunday: 90,000.

“That’s a huge jump up, not quite double, but a very, very big increase,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “That’s due in large part to the vaccines at the Center City vaccination center, but also there were increases, delivered by other providers in the city.”

The FEMA vaccination site at the Convention Center has been close to meeting its 6,000 weekly shot goals, Farley said, adding that city-run and other local vaccine providers were also ramping up their operations.

The city also announced five new community-based sites slated to open in the next two weeks:

  •  Edward O’Malley Athletic Association, 144 Moore St.
  • Grand Yesha Ballroom, 2308 Snyder Ave.
  • Mastery Charter Simon Gratz High School, 1798 W. Hunting Park Ave.
  • Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein German American Club, 9130 Academy Rd.
  • City Facility, 7800 Ogontz Ave.

These are not walk-up locations, and require an appointment. Farley and Mayor Jim Kenney discouraged vaccine-seekers from sharing appointment links to try and get the shot before they’re eligible. Officials have brought on tech consultants to produce single-use links.

Farley says Philly, despite the new sites, will likely continue to have more vaccines on hand than administrators can deliver into arms.

“The limiting factor was probably going to be how many providers we have getting shots into arms per week rather than doses arriving in the city. That’s where we are now, that’s probably where we’ll continue to be for the foreseeable future.”

New grant money for Philly hospitality businesses

Mayor Kenney announced Tuesday the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, also known as CHIRP, will bring $17 million in grants to Philadelphia businesses.

The grants will range from $5,000 to $50,000 per business. The application for the program opens up next Monday, March 15, at 11 a.m. and will run until April 5.

“I want to thank all of the businesses that have gone above and beyond to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus,” said Kenney. “We appreciate you and sincerely hope we can get back to normal soon.”

Philly seeks ‘Vaccine Champions’

The mayor said vaccination is key to that goal of getting “back to normal,” and to that end, the city has begun looking to recruit so-called Vaccine Champions. The city’s Philly Counts office, which recruited similarly named “Census Champions” in years past, will lead online, 90-minute trainings.

“We know that Philadelphians have many valid questions about the COVID vaccine,” said Kenney. “That is why vaccine champions play a critical role in the city’s community engagement strategy.

Trainings will take place over zoom on March 18. Residents can sign up for the trainings here:

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