PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some local leaders are sounding the alarm, saying not everyone has access to a vaccination site. South Philadelphia is being dubbed a “vaccine desert.”
City and state leaders are addressing the disparity in hopes of having a vaccination site in the works as soon as possible.READ MORE: Police: 9-Year-Old Boy Shot When Gunman Fires Into Olney Home
“We were getting a lot of inquiries from our constituents about the vaccine — where to get the vaccine, what areas are close by?” City Councilmember Mark Squilla said.
It turns out there aren’t any COVID-19 vaccination sites in South Philadelphia. There are pharmacies that provide vaccinations but no actual site.
It’s prompting elected officials like Squilla to call on the Philadelphia health commissioner to address the disparity.
“We want to make sure he’s aware. He said he was aware of it. He’s aware that South Philly is what they’re calling a vaccine desert,” Squilla said.READ MORE: Byron McDonald II Suspected In Killing 2-Year-Old Son's Mother, Grandmother, Police Say
So far, there are only three community neighborhood vaccine sites that the health department has set up.
“We support pop-up sites. It looks like the city is looking to do that in the future. We’ve given a lot of different locations to the administration for possible sites, people willing to allow their sites to be used,” Squilla said.
Eyewitness News reached out to the Philadelphia Department of Health. A spokesperson says they responded in a letter addressed to State Rep. Elizabeth Fielder, reading in part: “We are working to address this issue through several means: adding additional pharmacies to our mix of providers; contracting with additional vaccinating agencies through the RFP process we initiated several weeks ago, hospital run vaccine clinics, and community-based mass clinics managed by the department of public health.”
“We’re the voice for our constituents and the people we represent so we have to get them answers, because they’re looking for answers from us,” Squilla said.MORE NEWS: Buena Community Rallies To Save Suspended Landisville Volunteer Fire Company From Permanent Shutdown
On Saturday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney will tour the new mass vaccination clinic at the School of the Future in West Philadelphia, where he will address racial inequity in COVID outcomes and vaccine distribution.