65 and older now eligible for vaccine in Philadelphia

CHOP vaccine clinic
PHOTO: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Philadelphia on Wednesday expanded eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to anyone 65 and older.

Previously, doses had been reserved for people over 74, those with at-risk medical conditions and residents who work in specific essential job categories, in addition to healthcare employees and staff and residents at nursing homes.

Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration said the decision to widen the vaccine pool was made by the city’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

“This change is possible because of the increased number of vaccine doses coming into the city and was considered by the Vaccine Advisory Committee in order to bring the city’s vaccine distribution program into line with the surrounding counties and states,” the city said in a news release.

In the suburbs and the rest of Pennsylvania, where the vaccine roll-out is governed by the state, the 65 and older population has been getting inoculated since January.

The speed of distribution has increased within city limits over the last two weeks, thanks in large part to the opening of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mass vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

It is set to administer 42,000 doses this week, with another 41,000 doses being shipped to other providers in Philadelphia. More than 130 locations are serving as inoculation points, including 58 pharmacies.

Almost all vaccine clinics in the city require appointments, and the city is inviting people to community sites and the Convention Center through a vaccine interest form at www.phila.gov/vaccineinterest.

Residents without internet access can add their name to the list by calling 311.

Through Wednesday, just over 308,000 people in Philadelphia had received at least one dose, and nearly 127,000 had been fully vaccinated.

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