PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As coronavirus cases are on the rise in Philadelphia, the city is canceling thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments that were booked at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is canceling roughly 30,000 appointments for the first COVID vaccine doses at the FEMA site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“We are sending emails to people saying their appointments are canceled so they should not come,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Tuesday.READ MORE: Tolls Increasing Sunday On 8 Delaware River Crossings Connecting Pennsylvania, New Jersey
Farley says the appointments were made erroneously after people began sharing a link to schedule their second shot.
“Uninvited people got links for the time period when we are only doing second doses and they shared those links widely,” Farley said.
The health department says for the next three weeks, the Convention Center will only administer second doses. Anyone seeking the first dose will be directed to another community site.
“The Convention Center for the next three weeks cannot take people for new first dose appointments because if we did that, then we would not be able to give them their second dose three weeks later,” Farley said.READ MORE: Man Dies After Being Shot Four Times In West Oak Lane, Philadelphia Police Say
Officials remind anyone who gets an appointment to not share their link, warning that it will only delay people from actually getting a spot to get the shot.
“The software was designed to help people schedule, it was not designed to kick people out,” Farley said.
The city will start giving the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine the week of April 12 to those who’ve registered on the city’s vaccine interest page.
During the city’s press conference on Tuesday, Farley also said that because both cases and hospitalizations are increasing, Philadelphia will not follow the state in easing restrictions for indoor gatherings and dining capacity on April 4.
Farley says if the numbers are trending down by the end of April, he would consider matching the state then.MORE NEWS: Fall Full-Capacity Concerts, Xfinity Live! Preparing To Reopen Has Philadelphia's Stadium District Buzzing With Energy
CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.