Temple University’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic administered shots to both city residents and students, faculty and employees today after not enough appointment slots were filled by city residents to receive doses.
The city invited 1,000 residents who qualify under Philadelphia’s guidelines and live in ZIP codes near Main Campus to sign up for the clinic, wrote James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in an email to The Temple News.
Eligible residents may have already been vaccinated or may be unable to attend the clinic the day they are invited to come, which is why the university invited students, faculty and employees to take the open appointments today, wrote Mark Denys, the director of Student Health Services, in an email to The Temple News.
“The bottom line is that we can’t let the vaccine go to waste,” wrote Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.
The invitation-only clinic at White Hall is open two days a week for six weeks with appointments typically available for eligible students, faculty and employees on Wednesdays and city residents on Thursdays, The Temple News reported.
Interested students, faculty and employees who live in Philadelphia can apply to be vaccinated at the university’s clinic through Temple’s vaccine interest form, while city residents apply through the city’s vaccine interest form before being contacted by the city, The Temple News reported.
After the Department of Public Health sends Temple a list of eligible residents who live near Main Campus, the university adds their names to its scheduling system while the city contacts the residents with a link to register and schedule their appointment, Denys wrote.
“We can get in touch with the city and say, ‘Hey look, give us more names,’ and the city also says to us, ‘You know, if you’ve got qualified Temple people go ahead and do that too,’” he said. “The most important things as far as we are concerned is that they’re qualified and they are city residents.”
Philadelphia is currently vaccinating residents in Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout plan, which includes frontline essential workers, people aged 65 or older, people with high-risk medical conditions and people working or living in long-term care facilities, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The city plans to move to Phase 1C, which includes essential workers like sanitation workers, utility workers, maintenance and janitorial staff and postage delivery workers, on Monday, The Temple News reported. Other essential workers in Phase 1C, like construction workers, legal workers and higher education workers, will be eligible later in April.
In Philadelphia, 533,099 people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 278,800 have received both doses, according to the City of Philadelphia.
Temple plans to provide first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the first three weeks of its clinic operations and second doses during the last three weeks.
Isaiah Reaves, 25, who lives in Mount Airy, was one of several workers from Philadelphia Gas Works to receive their first dose at Temple’s clinic today.
Reaves, a distribution supervisor, said the process of getting through the clinic was quicker and easier than he thought it would be. After showing his identification to clinic staff, they approved him for the shot, asked him a series of health questions and monitored him for 15 minutes to make sure he didn’t have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, he said.
Jake Lennox, 21, a compressor operator who lives in Roxborough, signed up two days ago when he found out he was eligible for the vaccine at the Temple clinic.
“I feel great, I feel perfectly fine,” he said. “Very happy I got it.”
Tamara Brown, a senior adult and organizational development major, decided to get vaccinated because she sees many people at her job at the New Employment Opportunities for Non-Custodial Parents, a program that serves parents who don’t have child custody and are experiencing unemployment.
Brown said she was glad to see there was not a line when she came to the clinic this morning, unlike other city clinics, which she heard about people waiting for hours to be vaccinated, she said.
“Everyone directed you exactly where you needed to go, everyone was friendly with care in mind and so it was, just went well,” she said. “I’m like, really satisfied, and I didn’t want to stand in the long lines at the Liacouras Center.”
Philadelphia vaccination clinics have faced long lines because there are not always enough available vaccine doses for the number of people who have signed up, and not all of the individuals in line at clinics are eligible in the current 1B phase, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported
Brittany Robinson, the wellness education program coordinator at Temple’s Wellness Resource Center, received an email yesterday telling her she was eligible to schedule an appointment at the White Hall vaccine site.
Robinson is happy to receive her first dose of the vaccine at Temple’s clinic because she also signed up through the city but hadn’t heard any information back. The White Hall clinic was “seamless,” she said.
“I feel very fortunate, very privileged to have this opportunity and to have it happen so quickly,” Robinson added. “I also signed up through the health department and I think that this was, I’m very lucky that this was the best option and that this was available to me.”
Bobby Landmesser, a junior criminal justice major, was excited to get the email because he’s ready to take a step back toward a normal life once vaccinated, he said.
“Really I just want to get back to a normal life, going to Phillies games and Temple games would be awesome,” he said. “That’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
Hilda Casillas, the lead travel auditor in the accounts payable department for Temple, said the process of being vaccinated today was easy.
The shot itself took “30 seconds” after she verified that she had an appointment at the center, Cassilas said. She is looking forward to being able to travel after she is fully vaccinated.
“I’m grateful that they at least have this outlet for us,” Casillas said. “I’m going to Vegas in August so I’ll have my card ready for then.”
Natalie Kerr contributed reporting.