Temple vaccinates residents, students at campus clinic’s fourth day

Approximately 450 residents made appointments at the university’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic today.

Destiny Simmons, who lives on Sharswood Street near 21st, waits to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Temple's White Hall vaccination clinic on April 8. | Jack Danz / The Temple News

With aspirations to travel to Japan soon, Destiny Simmons was thrilled when she received an email invitation to Temple University’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at White Hall last week. 

“I’m excited because I do plan on going on a few trips in the summer, so when I go, at least I’ll be OK,” said Simmons, 24, who lives on Sharswood Street near 21st. 

Simmons was one of many Philadelphia residents and Temple students who lined up outside of White Hall Thursday on the fourth day of the university’s invitation-only COVID-19 vaccine clinic, preparing to receive first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

As a part of the global COVID-19 vaccination effort underway, Temple opened its campus clinic on March 31 and has designated each Wednesday in the clinic’s six-week run for eligible Temple students, faculty and staff to receive vaccines and Thursdays for Philadelphia residents, The Temple News reported. Alongside people nationwide getting their shot, the Temple community and city residents are hopeful continued vaccination efforts bring them closer to return to normal. 

Those currently eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1C of the city’s vaccine distribution plan include postal and package delivery workers, sanitation workers, utility workers and janitorial and maintenance staff, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Residents 65 years and older, those with high-risk medical conditions and some essential workers are eligible under previous phases of the vaccine distribution program.

Philadelphia will expand vaccine eligibility in Phase 1C to include unpaid caregivers, media personnel and construction workers on April 12 before expanding vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 years and older on April 19, The Temple News reported.

The clinic will remain open for four more weeks and plans to administer approximately 1,100 doses each week. The university will administer second doses during the final three weeks of the clinic’s operations, as the Pfizer vaccine requires two shots at least 21 days apart, The Temple News reported.

Students, faculty and staff can express interest in being vaccinated by filling out Temple’s vaccine interest form, while Philadelphia residents can fill out the city’s vaccine interest form before the university will contact them, The Temple News reported.

About 450 residents made appointments for Temple’s clinic today after the Philadelphia Department of Public Health sent invitations to 2,015 people to sign up for this and next week’s clinic, wrote James Garrow, a spokesperson for the department, in an email to The Temple News. 

Temple invited students, faculty and staff to make appointments at the clinic last Thursday because not enough appointment slots were filled by residents then, The Temple News reported.

Nivedhidha Karunanidhi, 26, who lives on 11th Street near Green, filled out Philadelphia’s vaccine interest form multiple times before she received an invitation to make an appointment at Temple’s clinic last week, she said. 

“I don’t want to be affected, and I don’t want others to be affected by myself,” Karunanidhi said. “So, if more people get vaccinated, I think the pandemic can be over soon.”

The COVID-19 vaccines can help keep recipients from getting sick or severely ill, but the Center for Disease Control doesn’t know if the vaccines prevent the transmission of COVID-19, according to the CDC.

As of April 8, 5,022 residents in the 19121 ZIP code and 3,173 residents in the 19122 ZIP code have been fully vaccinated, The Temple News reported. More than 577,000 people in Philadelphia are partially vaccinated and more than 350,000 fully vaccinated.

Mahdi Ahmed, a 35-year-old grocery market owner who lives on Mascher Street near Berks, is already fully vaccinated but waited in line at Temple’s vaccine clinic today to assist his mother as she received her vaccine, he said. Ahmed appreciated how simple it was to register her for her appointment, he added. 

“It was very easy,” Ahmed said. “She got the link after I requested with the [Philadelphia Department of Public Health] to see which slots are open.”

Madeleine Bove, a junior communication studies major, was “very excited” to receive a vaccine at Temple’s clinic today because she feels it has been “stressful and nerve-wracking” to work at her job as a grocery store cashier throughout the pandemic, she said.

“This summer, it was really scary because it was all still kind of new and a lot of people don’t really know how to wear their mask correctly, especially in a really big supermarket,” Bove said. 

Temple also vaccinated several employees from Philadelphia Gas Works at today’s clinic for the second Thursday in a row

 “It’s alright,” Cade McKee, one of the Philadelphia Gas Works employees who was vaccinated at the clinic today. “I don’t feel like I need it, but it’s something that I guess you need now to travel and stuff.”

About 15 percent of Philadelphia residents are fully vaccinated as of April 8, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Philadelphia will reach herd immunity when approximately 80 percent of its residents are vaccinated, The Temple News reported.

The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks and practice social distancing but do not need to wear masks indoors with other fully vaccinated people, while partially vaccinated people should continue to take all possible precautions until fully vaccinated, The Temple News reported.

Matt Williamson, a 32-year-old restaurant manager who lives on Second Street near Poplar, also liked how easy the registration process was, he said. Williamson chose to get vaccinated because it will make him feel more comfortable when surrounded by people at his restaurant, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons on Front Street near Master, he added.

“It’s a needle, so nobody’s ever super excited to get one of those, but if it makes me feel a little safer seeing 250 potential people a day, then I’m going to do it,” Williamson said.

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