PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More COVID-19 vaccine is coming to Philadelphia, but eligibility probably won’t expand until the spring. The announcements came Tuesday from city leaders as there are renewed calls for a mass vaccination site at Lincoln Financial Field.
COVID vaccine supplies and locations will be increasing in Philadelphia and, for the first time, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley predicted everyone could be vaccinated by July. However, officials said today the city will probably remain in phase 1B of vaccine distribution through the end of April.READ MORE: 'A Game Changer': CDC Recommends Johnson & Johnson's 1-Dose COVID Vaccine, Paving Way For Distribution To Begin
“Things will be improving in the spring, but there’s real hope for the summer,” Farley said.
The health commissioner sounded optimistic about vaccine distribution in Philadelphia that, he says, will be expanding significantly, because of expected increased supplies.
“Philadelphia is moving forward and in the right direction,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
City leaders say vaccinations will continue to ramp up at a variety of locations, but there are still complaints the process is too complicated and slow.
Councilman Allan Domb is collecting petition signatures for “Operation Philly Special,” again calling for the city to open a mass vaccination site at Lincoln Financial Field.
“We’re not eliminating Lincoln Financial Field from some ultimate use in that regard, it’s just not gonna be the first one out of the box,” Kenney said.READ MORE: Irv Cross, Former Eagles Star DB And Pioneer Black Analyst, Dies At 81
City officials say the stadium’s location isn’t good for community outreach like what’s happening with the Black Doctors Consortium, that will have a 24-hour vaccine-a-thon Friday at noon into Saturday at The Liacouras Center.
“I want people to utilize us at midnight, if it works for you,” said Dr. Ala Stanford with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. “If it works for you at 5 in the morning, I want you to come out.”
Farley outlined a tentative schedule, if the city gets its share of the additional 600 million doses announced by the feds.
“I can estimate we will be in phase 1B until approximately the end of April, and phase 1C until approximately the end of May,” Farley said. “And then we’ll be in phase 2, and then phase 2, everyone is eligible in June and we would reach everyone who wants a vaccine by the end of July.”
The next phase, 1C, will cover additional essential workers and expand the age restrictions from 75 to 65.
Every place outside the city is already vaccinating those over 65.
Regardless of location, everyone needs an appointment to get vaccinated and there are dozens of sites for registration.MORE NEWS: COVID In Philadelphia: City Easing More Restrictions Monday On Road To Recovery
There may be more vaccines, but it’s still not easy to find.