The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, a nonprofit that aims to reduce incidence of disease and death from COVID-19, is hosting a 24-hour COVID-19 vaccine site at The Liacouras Center through tomorrow at noon.
The site began operating on a first-come, first-serve basis as hundreds of people lined down Broad Street toward Cecil B. Moore Avenue, some waiting in lawn chairs for their turn while it snowed Friday afternoon.
The site is open to all Philadelphia residents 75 and older along with those in the city’s 1B vaccination category in what the organization defines as “hardest hit” zip codes, including: 19104, 19119, 19120, 19121, 19123, 19126, 19131, 19132, 19133, 19138, 19139, 19140, 19141, 19142, 19143, 19144, 19146, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19120, 19121, and 19123.
Residents must bring a form of identification that demonstrates their eligibility to receive the vaccine, like a driver’s license, along with their utility bill to prove they reside in their respective ZIP code, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Philadelphia’s 1B group includes first responders, teachers and transit workers. The site is also open to members of the 1A group including hospital staff, workers in long-term care facilities and COVID-19 testing staff.
Most of the vaccines administered will be first doses and attendees will have the opportunity to schedule their second dose, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Gregory Lingham, 64, a preacher at Miller Memorial Baptist Church, had been waiting in line since 9 a.m. He wanted to set an example for members of his congregation to show them the vaccine is safe, he said.
“I wanted to let them know that there isn’t anything wrong with it,” Lingham said, “All it can do is make you feel better and as a leader I wanted to do this for them.”
He hopes more people are able to come and wait in line for the vaccine.
“Everyone should come out here and get it,” he said. “If I can sit and tailgate in the cold at an Eagles game, why can’t I tailgate for life?”
Amy Whipple, 38, a preschool teacher who lives at Passyunk Avenue near Hemberger St., was in line and sad to see older individuals waiting as well, she said.
“We have this line of 75 and up and it’s still super long in this super cold, horrible weather,” Whipple said. “That’s the population that should be taken care of in a far more healthy and proper way.”
Whipple was happy to learn that the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium organized the vaccine site given what she’s heard about health disparities in communities of color, she said.
“It’s already a hard vaccine to make a case for with a lot of people after what happened with Philly Fighting COVID,” she said. “Minorities have had a hard time having faith in vaccines and for good reason given what’s happened in history.”
Historical instances of medical experimentation on Black people, including the infamous U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, which studied Black men who had syphilis but did not offer them treatment, have fueled distrust in the COVID-19 vaccine and medicine in general in Black communities, NBC News reported.
Only 42 percent of Black adults would be willing to get the vaccine, compared to 63 percent of Hispanic adults and 61 percent of white adults, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
Katie Tiarks, a senior at Drexel University, was impressed with the turnout and happy to see many people of color waiting to get the vaccine.
“It’s really encouraging,” Tiarks said. “There’s a lot of distrust in vaccines since there’s a terrible history among people of color so this can definitely help with trust and equal representation.”