PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is continuing to support Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley as the mayor has directed the health department to take corrective steps following the city’s controversial partnership with Philly Fighting COVID. The city terminated its relationship with the group founded by 22-year-old Drexel University graduate student Andrei Doroshin, after the organization changed its status from a nonprofit to for-profit.

The steps include:

  • Hold clinics to ensure that everyone who received a first dose of vaccine from PFC gets their second doses on time and from professionals who are qualified to administer it.
  • Immediately allocate all first doses that had been previously allocated to PFC to the other health care organizations currently administering vaccines, with a special focus on providing an enhanced number of doses to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium.
  • Produce a public report within 30 days detailing how PFC came to work with PDPH in both testing and vaccination. The report must identify any and all weaknesses in the vetting process that could have prevented the present outcome and provide a set of intended improvements.
  • Add Commerce Director Michael Rashid to any committee(s) constituted to review proposals to provide COVID-19 testing or vaccination services in partnership with PDPH.

“My hope is that by directing the Health Department to take these corrective steps, we can move forward quickly to refine our vaccine distribution process, rebuild trust with the public, and ensure every Philadelphian has access to this life-saving vaccine,” Kenney said.

The mayor also publicly backed Dr. Farley, touting the health commissioner’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is beyond question that Dr. Farley’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped save thousands of Philadelphians’ lives. His guidance—grounded in science and data—is why Philly has the lowest per capita rate of new cases in the region,” Kenney said.

The city is coming under fire for partnering with Philly Fighting COVID — an organization without medical qualifications — to help run mass vaccination sites. The group had been giving thousands of doses at the Convention Center.

During a press conference earlier this week, Dr. Farley said “it wasn’t good for us to have a partnership” with Philly Fighting COVID.

“I do understand why people are upset with that. We were very upset as well, that’s why we’ve terminated the relationship,” the health commissioner said.

Philadelphia City Council has launched an investigation.

“This is a moment in Philadelphia history to be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons,” Philadelphia City Councilmember Cindy Bass said.

Bass introduced a resolution to look into the dealings with Philly Fighting COVID and the Health Department.

Meanwhile, Doroshin admitted to taking four doses of the vaccine home. He defended that decision on Inside Edition.

“We had four vaccines that were leftover,” Doroshin told Inside Edition. “I took it upon myself, especially in this pandemic where every vaccine matters, to put that vaccine into an arm as per the guidance. I did vaccinate four of my friends.”

People who received the vaccine from Philly Fighting COVID or signed up with them are being advised to register online with the city health department.


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