By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new COVID-19 mass vaccination site is opening at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia this week. The site, which is a new collaboration between the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, FEMA, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, was created with the goal to vaccinate as many people as possible during this pilot program.

Starting Wednesday, March 3, the site will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the capacity to vaccinate up to 6,000 Philadelphians daily who are eligible under Phases 1A and 1B. Residents must sign up here.

The Pfizer vaccine being used at the mass vaccination site comes from a federal allotment, which allows the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to continue using the city’s own vaccine allotment at other sites.

The site will be open until April 30, 2021.

CENTER CITY VACCINATION CENTER SIGN-UP INFO

  • Register here
  • If residents do not have internet access, have issues filling out the online form, or need the form in another language, they should call 3-1-1. Residents will be contacted once they are eligible and a vaccine is available.
  • Sign up to receive free notifications about potential impacts or changes at the center, including transit and weather incidents by texting COVIDPHL to 888-777
  • Walk-up appointments are not available at this site.
  • Bring an ID or piece of mail with a Philadelphia address to provide proof of identity and residency.
  • After you’ve been vaccinated, you’ll wait in an observation area for 15 minutes; certain health conditions will require a 30-minute observation time. You’ll be scheduled for your second dose, if your vaccine requires one.

GETTING THERE

  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center is accessible using SEPTA public transit and Customized Community Transportation (CCT) services, rideshare, taxi, or personal vehicle. Parking facilities are available to accommodate personal vehicles and loading zones have been created for drop-offs and pick-ups at the entrance and exit.
  • The entrance to the Center City Vaccination Center is at the northeast corner of 12th and Arch Streets. Individuals with appointments should use 100 N. 12th Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 as the GPS address. After being vaccinated, individuals will exit at the northwest corner of 11th and Arch Streets.
  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center is a block away from SEPTA’s Jefferson Station which is serviced by eleven Regional Rail lines, the Market-Frankford line and bus routes: 17, 23, 33, 38, 44, 47, 47M, 48, 61, and 62. Individuals are highly encouraged to use public transit resources to get to and from their appointments at the Center City Vaccination Center. Masks are required to travel on SEPTA. Employee-ambassadors will reinforce this mandate and give out free masks as part of the Mask Force Philly program. More information on SEPTA service and COVID-19 can be found at septa.org/covid-19.
  • This web-based map shows all transit routes to the PCC, and this static map shows frequent routes to the PCC.
  • Adults age 65 and older can ride free at all times on SEPTA buses, trackless trolleys, trolleys, Broad Street and Market Frankford lines, and Regional Rail by providing a PA driver’s license, a PA non-driver identification card or a Senior Ride Free Key card. For more information, click here.
  • Individuals under age 65 with a qualifying disability can ride at half-fare at all times on SEPTA buses, trackless trolleys, trolleys, Broad Street and Market Frankford lines, and Regional Rail. Registration information here.
  • SEPTA Customized Community Connect (CCT) is available to seniors and individuals with disabilities and/or access and functional needs that are registered with SEPTA CCT. SEPTA will be on-site at the Center City Vaccination Center seven days a week to make CCT reservations for second dose vaccination appointments.
  • A designated drop-off point with ADA accessibility will be located on the south side of the 100-200 block of N. 12th Street, between Arch and Race Streets.  A designated pick-up point with ADA accessibility will be located on the northeast corner of 1100 Arch Street, between 11th and 12th Streets.
  • Designated drop-off points for rideshare, taxi, and privately owned vehicles will be located on the northside of 100 N. 12th Street, between Arch and Race Streets. Designated pick-up points for rideshare, taxi, and privately owned vehicles will be located on the 0-100 block of N. 11th Street, between Market and Arch Streets.
  • There are nearly 30 private parking garages and lots within five blocks of the PCC and the clinic entrance—totaling over 10,000 parking spaces. The PCC website lists various options, and there are several parking apps that can help locate available parking resources. The following parking garages are offering discounted rates for 2-hour parking. Rates must be validated by showing the vaccination card given to individuals after receiving their vaccine.

The Autopark at the Fashion District
45 N. 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
$5 for 2-hour parking

Parkway Broad and Race Garage
150 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
$10 for 2-hour parking

Parkway 12th & Filbert Garage
1201 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
$10 for 2-hour parking

Additionally, from Wednesday, March 3 to Thursday, April 1, the Philadelphia Parking Authority will provide complimentary parking between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. at its three SEPTA regional rail lots:

Fern Rock Rail Station Lot
10th & Nedro Streets

Fox Chase Rail Station Lot
500 Rhawn Street

Torresdale Rail Station Lot
4900 Grant Avenue

  • The Parking Authority will relax parking meter enforcement in the following areas: 11th Street to Broad Street, between Race and Arch Streets; Race Street, between 11th and Broad Streets; Arch Street, between 11th and Broad Streets. However, within this relaxed parking area, several zones must remain free of parked vehicles to provide adequate space for pick-up/drop-off near the PA Convention Center. Beginning March 3, 2021, “No Parking” signs will be posted in the following areas to facilitate drop-off and pick-up: Arch Street from 11th to 13th Streets; 12th Street from Race to Arch Streets; 13th Street from Race to Arch Streets; 11th Street from Market to Arch Streets. These restrictions will allow for designated pick-up and drop-off areas, including for ADA accessibility. Philadelphia Police Officers will be onsite to assist in directing traffic and keeping drop-off areas flowing.

The site officially opens on Wednesday but the city is testing out the processes on Tuesday to ensure everything is operational.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas got a first-hand look at the site on Tuesday and says while the site will focus on Phases 1A and 1B, communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. During this eight-week period, they hope to reach vulnerable populations.

Mayorkas says no one’s socio-economic or immigration status should impact their ability to receive a vaccine. He says neither Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection will conduct immigration enforcement operations at, or near, vaccine distribution sites.

“The profile of this urban area, understanding the composition of this urban area, and the fact that there are disenfranchised populations, if we don’t set up a facility like this, it’s of extraordinary importance in the service of equity and public health and I felt it important to represent the federal government here today,” Mayorkas said.

This is in addition to the 20-plus sites already in the city.

They are not taking any walk-ins and they will be turned away.

Health officials say several people who are not yet eligible for the vaccinations still managed to sign up for appointments at the convention center.

Officials think those “line-jumpers,” as they’re called, got access to the link when it was shared with them by people who are eligible.

The health department is now working to weed those people out and cancel their appointments.

An appointment must be made through the city’s portal.

The pilot program is officially set up here at the convention center. This new collaboration with FEMA is aimed at vaccinating as many Philadelphians as possible in the next eight weeks.

“In six weeks, that’ll bring us close to a quarter of a million people,” said Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke.

FEMA joined forces with city agencies to distribute a federal allotment of the vaccine. That’s in addition to sites currently serving city residents.

“That gives us a chance to take the vaccine and set up in other neighborhoods and to set up sites in the community,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.

The site officially opens Wednesday, but thousands of essential city workers, including SEPTA employees, are lining up to get vaccinated during the soft launch.

“Sixteen-hundred SEPTA employees getting vaccinated in about a four-hour window today just to help our employees who’ve been helping all other essential employees,” SEPTA Assistant General Manager of System Safety Jim Fox said.

CBS3’s Alecia Reid contributed to this report.