Philadelphia to expand vaccine eligibility to more essential workers

Sanitation workers, utility workers and janitorial staff will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting April 5.

Philadelphia announced on April 1 that it will enter Phase 1C of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution. | ALLIE IPPOLITO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Philadelphia will enter Phase 1C of its vaccine distribution effort and begin vaccinating essential workers like sanitation workers, utility workers, postage and package delivery workers and maintenance and janitorial staff starting Monday, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Other members of Phase 1C, including construction workers, legal workers and those who work in higher education won’t be eligible to receive the vaccine until later in April, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The announcement comes a day after Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania residents aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine by April 19. Wolf’s order does not apply to Philadelphia, the Inquirer reported.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley encouraged all eligible Philadelphians to get vaccinated as soon as possible, particularly those 65 and older.

“We need to particularly boost the number of vaccinations of people over the age of 65 to prevent more deaths,” Farley said.

More than 533,000 Philadelphians have been partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 278,000 have been fully vaccinated, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

The city’s Federal Emergency Management vaccination clinic at the Pennsylvania Convention Center will likely provide the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine from April 14 through 28, after which the site will close, The Temple News reported.

FEMA announced plans on March 29 to open another mass vaccination clinic at Esperanza Academy Charter School on Hunting Park Avenue near Fifth Street. The site aims to vaccinate between 1,500 and 2,000 people per day.

Philadelphia has been in Phase 1B of its vaccination effort, which includes frontline essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions, people aged 65 years or older and residents or workers in long-term care facilities, since January, The Temple News reported

Farley anticipates the city will move to Phase 2, which includes everyone aged 16 and older, by May 1, The Temple News reported.

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