Why the city chose Philly Fighting COVID to administer the vaccine

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Health facilities have offered to help. The city refused them.

When the Convention Center clinic launched on January 8, Philly Fighting COVID received praise for stepping up at a critical time. But the decision to allow a 9-month-old organization to run a mass vaccination program mystified people in the region’s robust medical sector from the start.

Dr Ala Stanford of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, whose volunteers have been traveling to neighborhoods for months to test communities most affected by the pandemic, said she was preparing for a program to roll out. vaccination on February 1.

“I don’t know why they went to [PFC]Stanford said. “We could have done what they did. We would have been the logical choice to ask. Haven’t we proven ourselves?”

Since then, his group has also received vaccines.

Health Commissioner Farley admitted this week that he assumed the city’s major medical institutions would be too busy vaccinating their own staff and dealing with the surge in COVID patients to be able to help at the community level.

When in a hurry, Farley admitted he never asked for the help of hospitals.

The Ministry of Health then clarified that during a routine call on December 22 with hospital chief doctors, emergency preparedness and vaccine management staff on site, a member of the Ministry of Health staff asked if hospitals would be prepared to immunize populations beyond their own staff. Many health systems have expressed their openness to supporting vaccinations of other populations after their staff have also been vaccinated. Farley was not on this call.

Some health systems have offered to help them in precisely this type of effort.

“Penn Medicine stands ready to support the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in all community-based immunization efforts for healthcare workers and others outside of the Penn Medicine system,” said Chief Medical Officer of Penn Medicine, PJ Brennan, to City Council in November.

Tony Reed, chief medical officer at Temple University Hospital, said that at first, community vaccinations could have been a big push, but as peaks in coronavirus cases have subsided in recent weeks, Temple was happy to help.

“We all said, ‘Tom, I think we’re at a point now where we have the capacity to do more and more,” “Reed recalled at one of the weekly meetings that the heads of the system health have with the commissioner. “I was running around 300 [vaccines] per day I can do about 600 to 1000 per day.

Medical Info “Flying in General Space” under I-95

After the city severed ties with Philly Fighting COVID this week, Commissioner Farley claimed there had been no warning signs regarding Doroshin or the organization. He has repeatedly said that a successful first weekend of mass vaccinations has proven the group can deliver on its promise.

But even he knew about the first missteps.

This first trial at the Convention Center aimed to vaccinate home health workers, with the goal of reducing the city’s widely disparate immunization rates for blacks in Philadelphia. But PFC has lost all of its racial and ethnic data for patients, according to a Jan. 14 letter from Farley to the office of Council Chairman Darrell Clarke which was obtained by WHYY.

An issue in the Amazon Cloud, Farley said in the letter, meant there had been no racial or ethnic breakdown of the people Philly Fighting COVID had vaccinated over the weekend.

Flamholz, the former PFC nurse, said she was often one of the only people with clinical experience at the start-up’s Fishtown test site, while designated supervisors were absent, distracted or, sometimes asleep.

And no one seemed too concerned about patient privacy. Flamholz said there was no shredder on site, as is the norm for a medical operation. It was not uncommon for identification documents to go straight into the Fillmore dumpster – or in some cases, fly off.

“It was just the personal information of someone flying in the general space which is the [I-95] underground passage, ”she said.

Flamholz was tasked with creating a training protocol for flu shots, but after repeatedly asking for details about where the injections were coming from and who would be allowed to give them, she ultimately quit.

She and many others have also said they are chasing their paychecks and stalking PFC executives for billable hours. Doroshin, meanwhile, seemed use your personal Venmo account to make official PFC payments, interspersed with crass sex jokes. Organization submitted illegitimate invoices for its city-funded tests, Philadelphia Magazine reported.

Still, the city found itself in need of vaccinating healthcare workers outside of hospitals earlier than expected – and Philly Fighting COVID was there, with its colorful maps and fancy patterns, ready to go.

Even Doroshin was surprised to be bugged so early. He told his staff in October that he did not expect to start vaccination until phase 2. Some of the city’s closest partners were surprised by the city’s non-contractual agreement to provide vaccines. to the young group.

“I didn’t know this was happening,” said Stanford, of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, which sits on the city’s vaccine advisory committee, as does Doroshin.

“Usually anything COVID in the city of Philadelphia, I know.”

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