COVID-19 vaccination sites: Clarification on eligibility, distribution

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As Pennsylvania eagerly eyes the delivery of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the coming days, the struggle to book a vaccine appointment continues.

"Trying to get my husband vaccinated has been a little difficult," said Tracy George of Clifton Heights, Delaware County. "He's in the phase 1A, so trying to get him...he's on a lot of lists."

In Chester County, based on the current vaccine inventory, 4,284 appointments have already been scheduled for next week, with an additional 2,384 to be booked over the weekend.

"It's so important because we've been fighting for the vaccine, all of us together, and it's so rewarding to be able to call somebody and give someone their appointment," said Marian Moskowitz, chair of the Chester County Board of Commissioners.

But with people desperate to get their shot, some are booking appointments in counties other than where they live.

While counties like Montgomery and Chester say they prioritize their residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has ordered that all 66 counties outside of Philadelphia can't turn someone away if they live elsewhere.

"It's available for people in other states like New Jersey, I think if people want it, it should be available, and they should have access to it here," said Malik King of Havertown, Delaware County.

Philadelphia officials say only Philadelphia residents can receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Philadelphia.

If someone living in Montgomery County made an appointment at the Philadelphia Convention Center, officials say they will be turned away.

As of Friday, Delaware County has received a total of 15,510 vaccines despite requesting more than 31,710.

The 6abc Data Journalism team found Delaware County, the fifth most populous county in the state, is ranked 46th in vaccine distribution.

Delaware County Government will be adding a fifth county-operated vaccination site at Springfield Hospital on March 11.

In New Jersey, Camden County began administering its first doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Saturday.

With the county expected to administer about 6,000 doses this week, officials say it shows just how far they've come.

"We started this pandemic hunting down test kits and trying to figure out just how many people were infected," said Kyle Sullender, Camden County spokesperson. "Now we're giving people the ability to go see their families."
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