PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President-elect Joe Biden says he will invoke the Defense Production Act to boost COVID-19 vaccine production. This comes as many still struggle to find testing when they need it.

The nonprofit organization Philly Fighting COVID offers free COVID-19 tests in the greater Philadelphia area with no referrals, insurance, or symptoms needed.

Their work highlights a critical gap in ending COVID — getting not only testing but now the vaccine to the people most at risk when and where they need it.

As 2020 comes to a close, many worry we still are not on track to end COVID any time soon.

“There still doesn’t really seem to be a real generalized standard,” patient Marian Bailey said.

Bailey is one of dozens who came out for testing today run by Philly Fighting COVID.

“They’re surprised that they can get tested in the same day and they think they’ll be turned away with no insurance,” Philly Fighting COVID worker Isabella Swallow said.

Swallow has been on the frontlines, recognizing the work that makes every local event like today’s possible.

“I came in starting out as a volunteer,” she said.

There are so many questions still to be answered from state health leaders as we all look ahead to the vaccine.

“We can’t comment, I can’t comment on how much vaccine we are going to get,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

Philly Fighting COVID, like many local grassroots groups, relies mostly on private donations and volunteers but serves as a critical distribution channel for the state.

“I can’t exactly say when we’ll be getting to the general public. We’re hopeful for maybe late spring, certainly by early summer,” Levine said.

So far, fewer than 2 million vaccines have been administered. President-elect Biden vows to get 100 million into the arms of Americans in his first 100 days.

And with demand not waning here, it’s no small task for the new year.

“Towards mid-December we had days where we were doing up to 800 tests,” Swallow said.

It’s no small task for the new year.

There is a pre-commitment list you can sign up for today to help the state allocate vaccines here in Philadelphia. Click here to find out more.

Philly Fighting COVID is run mostly through donations from the community and they say every dollar matters. If you’d like to learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit

CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports. 


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