Philadelphia increases Temple’s COVID-19 vaccine supply

As of March 1, Temple Health has vaccinated roughly 65 percent of its workers for COVID-19.

A nurse with Temple University Health System fills a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at Temple University Hospital on Dec. 16, 2020. | DANIEL BURKE AND TEMPLE HEALTH / COURTESY

The City of Philadelphia has increased its COVID-19 vaccine allocation to Temple University Health System to 2,000 vaccines per week after it decreased the supply to Temple to 1,000 per week in mid-January, wrote Dr. Tony Reed, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Temple University Health System, in an email to The Temple News. 

Temple Health received 2,000 vaccines per week beginning Dec. 18, 2020, but that decreased in mid-January, Reed said.

Philadelphia decreased Temple Health’s vaccine allocation because large hospital systems were not administering as many vaccines as before. Philadelphia distributed more vaccines to community clinics, wrote Matthew Rankin, assistant to the director of communications for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in an email to The Temple News. 

Temple Health is currently revisiting departments it already vaccinated to see if any health care workers who were previously hesitant are now comfortable with receiving the vaccine, Reed said. 

COVID-19 Vaccines in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers and long-term care facility residents and workers, and Phase 1B, which includes first responders and people 75 and older. Track how many vaccines have been distributed to North Central residents here. Residents who qualify for eligible phases can express interest and allow themselves to be contacted by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by filling out this form.

As of March 1, Temple Health has vaccinated roughly 65 percent of its staff for COVID-19, Reed wrote.

Temple Health, which began administering vaccines to health care workers on Dec. 16, 2020, is currently administering an average of 100 first dose and 200 second dose vaccinations per day to health employees across all hospital campuses, Reed wrote.

Temple Health is also vaccinating roughly 900 patients per day who are either 75 years old or older or have high-risk conditions, like chronic kidney disease, diabetes or cancer, regardless of age, Reed wrote. 

Patients who visited Temple Health in the past two years are invited to receive their vaccine via the MyTempleHealth patient portal or by phone call, Reed said. 

Temple Health is primarily vaccinating current and former outpatients, but inpatients who meet the criteria are also eligible to receive the vaccine, Reed wrote in an email to The Temple News. 

Temple Health is primarily receiving Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, Reed said. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two doses 21 and 28 days apart, respectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received emergency-use authorization on Feb. 27, will speed up Temple’s vaccination process if it increases the city’s vaccine allocation to Temple University Health System, Reed wrote in an email to The Temple News. 

As of Feb. 26, Philadelphia’s vaccine supply was low, which caused the city to distribute the vaccine in a phased approach, according to the city’s website.

Philadelphia is currently in Phases 1A and 1B of vaccine administration, which includes health care personnel, frontline workers, people with high-risk medical conditions, people above the age of 75 and people working and residing in congregate settings, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Reed still anticipates that a healthy 19-year-old would not be vaccinated until July or August because the vaccine distribution and allocation process at the federal level has remained stagnant, he said. 

As of Feb. 26, Philadelphia expects an increase of vaccine supply in the weeks ahead, according to the city’s website.

“Like many of the city’s residents, we share their excitement in getting vaccinated as well as frustration in the lack of available doses,” Rankin wrote in an email to The Temple News. “We wish we could vaccinate everyone and hope to be receiving more doses per week going forward.”

Reed hopes that by the time Philadelphia begins Phase 1C of its vaccine distribution process more vaccination sites in the city will be available, he said.

It is too early to predict when Phase 1C will begin, Rankin wrote in an email to The Temple News. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that most Americans will be eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as April, but it would take a few more months to vaccinate everyone, the New York Times reported.

The College of Public Health administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to students in clinical settings at the Bell Building on Main Campus in late January, The Temple News reported.

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium hosted a 24-hour vaccination event at the Liacouras Center on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 where they vaccinated roughly 4,000 individuals from Philadelphia’s 1A and 1B group, The Temple News reported

The organization hosted another vaccination event on March 1 and will host more on March 2 and March 6 at the Liacouras Center, according to The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium website.

“We would be happy to do that again if needed,” wrote Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News. “Right now, our focus is building plans for going into the community.”

Reed believes that by vaccinating patients, a large portion of which are Philadelphia residents, Temple Health is contributing to the community, he said.

“We’re here as a community medical center for North Philadelphia, and so we’re taking care of the community by taking care of our patients,” Reed said.

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