'Vax Up Philly' parade travels up Broad Street

The event aimed to get many people in many different communities vaccinated.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A "Vax Up Philly Parade" brought live music, dancers, and free COVID-19 vaccinations up Broad Street from FDR Park to North Philadelphia Sunday.

Jefferson Health partnered with multiple community organizations for the event, which aimed to get as many people in as many different communities vaccinated as possible.

The hospital's mobile health unit had been coming to FDR Park every weekend for the last month, vaccinating the Latino community during soccer games. Advocates say the response has been overwhelming.

"It's brought to you at a place where you normally come and congregate, it's just an excellent sort of opportunity to do that," said Alvaro Drake-Cortes, who works for the park.

The clinic has been stationed next to a soccer league and pop-up market. Healthcare workers have been working with translators and vaccinating as many as 70 people at the spot every weekend.

"When they see their community members getting vaccinated, they begin to feel like OK, this is a service that I can take advantage of, it's safe, I trust it, if my friend trusts it, we trust it," said Robert Pugliese, who has been overseeing the program for Jefferson Health.

This summer, the rate of Latino Philadelphians getting vaccinated is faster than any other demographic. According to city data, 70% of the population has at least gotten one dose. Advocates say that's because of hard work, building trust in the community.

"I think that access has been one of the issues for them, especially with some of the populations that occupy the park here," said Drake-Cortes.

With the delta variant spreading and cases skyrocketing, workers from Jefferson say it's more important than ever to get people vaccinated.

"It's really critical that every single individual that gets vaccinated could stop potentially 10s, 50 people from getting infected from that individual," said Pugliese.

The parade route includes stops at FDR Park, City Hall, and Philadelphia OIC.
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