Doctors in private practices frustrated over COVID-19 vaccine access

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There are growing frustrations over vaccine distribution among doctors and dentists in private practices that aren't affiliated with a large healthcare network.

Action News began fielding calls from several dentists and doctors in the region who are in the same category as frontline healthcare workers in hospitals that recently received the vaccines.

Dr. Scott Solow of Center City Pediatric Dentistry is anxiously awaiting the vaccine for himself and those on his staff that fall into the right category.

"When we were allowed to come back in May, everyone jumped up and said, 'Alright, we're ready to go," said Solow.

Dr. Eric Berger of Center City Pediatrics made it clear Tuesday that he doesn't think they should jump in the front of the line, but at the very least, wants to see a timeline or plan.

"It just does not seem like they put a system in place for people who are not tied to a healthcare system, a large healthcare system or corporate entity," said Berger.

A spokesperson with The Philadelphia Department of Health said, "We know that many people are anxious to get their COVID vaccine and get things back to normal. The Health Department's COVID vaccine program is constrained by how many doses of vaccine are in the city, what types of vaccine there are, and who has been prioritized to receive the vaccine. We wish we could give more vaccines faster, but that's just not possible at this time."

Doctors and dentists are prioritized in Phase 1a to get the COVID vaccine first.

As of Monday, Philadelphia has only received enough vaccines for about 40% of the people in Phase 1a.

The Philadelphia Health Department says they intend to be in contact with all healthcare providers to offer them an opportunity to get vaccinated.

Dr. Edward Balaban, the Chair of The Pennsylvania Medical Association Board of Trustees, says they are in constant contact with the department of health to reach all providers.
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