Philadelphia’s allocation of vaccine doses to increase next week

Philadelphia is prioritizing vaccinations for people over the age of 75 and those with high-risk medical conditions.

A doctor extracts COVID-19 vaccine out of a vial

In this Jan. 15, 2021, file photo, Dr. Yomaris Pena extracts the last bit of COVID-19 vaccine out of a vial. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the city will receive an increased supply of vaccination doses next week, doubling the supply received a few weeks ago.

“I know that many people are still waiting to get the vaccine, but we are making progress on vaccination,” Farley said at a virtual news conference. “The supply of vaccines we are getting each week is gradually increasing.”

The number of doses expected to be received next week includes 19,890 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 15,600 first doses of the Moderna vaccine. Those numbers do not include the doses coming from the federal government to local pharmacy chains.

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Philadelphia is still in vaccination Phase 1B with people over the age of 75 and those with high-risk medical conditions eligible for the inoculation.

Farley also reported an increased number of vaccine providers. However, some are having issues handling the Pfizer vaccine due to its ultra-cold storage requirement and the fact that it comes with a minimum shipment of 1,170 doses, which small providers may not be able to handle. The Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage and can come in minimum shipments of 100 doses.

Farley also said the city is set to receive 13,100 doses this week of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The city is likely to receive little if any additional doses over the next three weeks. Doses ought to increase after that point but the commissioner did not know by how much.

With its one-shot advantage over the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Farley said providers are recommended to prioritize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people who are hard to reach. That includes homebound people, people with limited mobility, and transient people who may be hard to track down twice.

“We’re giving this vaccine to hospitals and to community providers who believe that they can reach those people,” said Farley.

The ability to administer doses across the city is accelerating, said Farley. As of yesterday, there were 234,000 people who received their first doses and 110,00 people who received their second doses. Of this population, 23% is Black, 4.5% is Latino, and 6.4% is Asian.

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