Montgomery, Delaware counties to open mass COVID-19 vaccination sites

BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Montgomery County Community College gym will soon become a COVID-19 vaccination site.

"Our goal is to get up to 2,000 a day, but we probably won't reach that until the end of January. So our immediate goal is 1,000 a day, but that depends on how many vaccines we receive," says Interim Montgomery County Health Administrator Janet Panning.

Montgomery County says every Wednesday it receives a shipment of 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines. Bucks County says it receives the same size weekly shipment.

Delaware County officials say they will set up the first mass vaccination site in Yeadon, without specifying a date.

Across the state, nearly 145,000 vaccine doses have been administered. Philadelphia has administered 28,476 vaccines.

According to the Pa. Statewide Immunization Information System, Chester County has inoculated 3,919 people and Bucks County has inoculated 6,571 people. Montgomery County administered 8,231 shots as of January 5, and Delaware County has provided 4,750 COVID-19 vaccine shots thus far.

These figures don't include vaccinations for congregate setting populations, like those living in nursing homes or the incarcerated.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says 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, their 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.

At Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook, the vaccine rollout started on December 23.

"We've been vaccinating every day since including Christmas and New Year's Day. Our staff is very excited to receive the vaccine and very grateful," says Dr. Kisha Martin.

"They're very hopeful that this will help bind people back together, families get back together, so we can go back to some normalcy," said Clifford Harris, security supervisor of Holy Redeemer Health System who has already received his first dose.

In Philadelphia, Temple University Hospital planned the vaccine roll out six weeks before ever receiving a vial. Administrators have seen the logistical challenges that may come when vaccinating the general population.

"It can get very complicated very fast because you're not only dealing with the logistics of all of this happening at the same time, happening correctly with the right dose, administration and monitoring with adverse events," said Dr. Amir Emamifar.

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

"It's an injection, people have to wait 15 minutes to make sure there's no allergic reaction and we don't want to just give it to anybody. We have set priority groups that are based upon how we can maximize the number of lives we save," said Farley.
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