Philadelphia officials ask for patience regarding slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley is asking for patience from those who want a COVID-19 vaccine but cannot yet get one.

"For everyone who is eager to get this vaccine, we ask you to please be patient. We understand you want to do this. We want to get it to you as soon as possible, but we simply can't do it just now," he said.

Farley went on to say it will be several months before everyone in the city who wants a vaccine will actually receive one. In fact, it could take as long as a year.

He said the city receives shipments of 9,500 Moderna vaccines and 9,750 Pfizer vaccines every week. Even with more than 19,000 doses coming in weekly, the supply is not enough.

"To be clear in a city of 1.6 million people this is not enough at this rate it will take more than 12 months to vaccinate the entire population in the city of Philadelphia," said Farley.

And so, while some COVID-related restrictions in Philadelphia were curtailed as of Monday, the rest will remain in effect through January 15 at the very earliest.

"That includes no indoor dining at restaurants. No indoor gatherings or events, theaters, no in-person education at colleges and no indoor organized sports," Farley said.

Farley says there are several factors contributing to the relatively slow pace of inoculations. Among them are the complexities that come with the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available.

"When I was a kid we had polio vaccine. We went to a high school gym, everybody just lined up. You walked in, they handed you a sugar cube, you swallowed it and walked on within a few seconds. It's not like that. These are vaccines, it's an injection, you have to wait 15 minutes to make sure they don't have an allergic reaction," he said.

Though Philadelphia has vaccinated the highest number of people in the five county region, Farley says only 39% of vaccines doses received have been administered.

Farley said a decision about the remaining restrictions will be made by the end of this week.
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