PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lawmakers are calling on Dr. Thomas Farley to step down from his position as Philadelphia health commissioner. This follows the controversy surrounding the health department’s choice of the organization Philly Fighting COVID.
Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner spoke Eyewitness News about the controversial hiring of a group of college students to handle the city’s vaccine sites. Dr. Thomas Farley says that he is willing to take the blame.
“Why would I resign? This is my fight to fight,” Philly Fighting COVID CEO Andrei Doroshin said.
The CEO of the disgraced Philly Fighting COVID says he will not resign even though he’s calling for Dr. Farley to resign.
During a news conference Friday, Doroshin continued to defend his for-profit organization, a group that was trusted to run the city’s first mass vaccination clinic but violated that trust after Doroshin took vaccines home for his friends and vaccinated people who did not meet the requirements for phase 1A and 1B.
Lawmakers are now calling for Farley to step down.
“We’re asking him to resign and remove himself from that responsibility. We are asking the mayor to support us in our effort,” State Sen. Anthony Williams said.
At this point, Dr. Farley says that he will not be stepping down but he says he would if he was asked to. Now he is trying to rebuild the public’s trust.
“Let’s remember 7,000 people were vaccinated, that’s a good thing. I think the problem here was that we end up in a relationship with an organization that was not trustworthy, lost the public trust,” he said. “And that’s the issue, we’re trying to deal with. We will review our process to improve this and earn back the public trust.”
Friday afternoon, Farley admitted the Health Department made a mistake. Eyewitness News asked him if resignation is something he’s considering.
“I feel like I still have things to contribute, but if at any point the mayor feels that he needs to have different leadership at the Health Department, he could ask me to do that and I would be happy to comply,” Farley said.
Farley went on to say he doesn’t believe criminal charges should be filed against Doroshin, even though he took vaccines home for his friends.
“He certainly should have not done that, but I don’t know whether that constitutes a crime,” Farley said.
This was a grave mistake that has greatly impacted the public’s trust. Now the Health Department must deal with the undertaking of regaining the city’s confidence.
“We are going to first do what the mayor asked, and that is to review how this decision was made to work with this organization,” Farley said.
In a letter to Farley, Mayor Jim Kenney requested a report within 30 days of how the Health Department partnered with Philly Fighting COVID, and to identify the weakness in its vetting process.
The city is now looking for other organizations to partner with, including the Black Doctor’s Consortium.
CBS3’s Kimberly Davis and Howard Monroe contributed to this report.
MORE FROM CBSPHILLY.COM