By Kimberly Davis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While the COVID-19 vaccine is now protecting tens of thousands of health care workers in the region, Eyewitness News spoke to a Center City pediatrician Wednesday who says he has been unable to arrange for any vaccines for his staff. Some in the healthcare industry said they are beginning to feel like an afterthought when it comes to being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Independent physicians are part of Phase 1, but one local doctor told Eyewitness News he has no idea how or when he’ll receive a shot.

“Since the first fuses of the vaccines have arrived in Pennsylvania a little more than a week ago, 41,444 health care workers have received their first doses,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

As Pennsylvania health care workers continue to bear arms to receive their COVID-19 vaccines, others on the front line aren’t quite sure when they will be vaccinated.

“Independent practices are not finding access to vaccines to be very easy,” Dr. Eric Berger, the leading physician at Center City Pediatrics, said.

Berger is one of those frontline workers who’s unsure when he will receive his vaccine. He said the Philadelphia Department of Health doesn’t seem to have a clear plan for health care workers who are not affiliated with hospitals.

“They tell us that eventually the pharmacy partners, CVS and Walgreens, will have it, but they were not even able to tell us how we’re going to be able to identify ourselves when it’s time or when that’s going to be,” Berger said.

Berger is not alone in his frustration.

On Wednesday, Levine addressed some of those concerns.

“Every health care worker who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated whether or not they are affiliated with a hospital or not,” Levine said.

Levine never addressed when those frontline workers would be vaccinated, and Berger said that’s the problem.

“We don’t feel like you have to be a part of a corporation to qualify as a frontline worker with the vaccine,” Berger said. “That’s what it’s kind of felt like.”

Independent practices are hoping to know within the next week how frontline workers not affiliated with hospitals can go about being vaccinated.


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Kimberly Davis