PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Health officials across the Delaware Valley are scrambling to vaccinate vulnerable populations before even more people become eligible. President Joe Biden says he wants all adults to be eligible for the vaccine within a week and a half.
It was an early morning at Canstatter in Philadelphia’s Torresdale neighborhood on Wednesday, where people were waiting in line for their coronavirus vaccine.READ MORE: 2 Dead, 1 Injured Following Shooting Outside Wawa In Upper Macungie Township; Suspect Dies Of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound
“It’s exciting. We enjoy helping the community. We help the community every day and this is another side of helping the community,” Philadelphia Fire Department Capt. April Smallwood said.
The vaccination clinic there is run by the Philadelphia Fire Department’s office of emergency management. It is one of 247 sites across the city that is administering doses. They are running three clinics each week in different parts of the city. Each day over 500 people are being vaccinated with the one-and-done Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
“When they walk in they’re like, ‘One vaccine? One shot? This is what I’ve been waiting for. How long do I have to wait to see my grandkids?’ They’re excited one shot and two weeks they’ll have that immunity,” Smallwood said.
Just like everywhere else in the Delaware Valley, they are bracing for an influx of more people. President Biden said Tuesday that all states must make all adults eligible for the vaccine by April 19. The fire department says they are up to the challenge
“We’re ready. Just like we do every day out in the neighborhood, we’re ready to go and take care of all citizens of Philadelphia,” Philadelphia Fire Department Capt. Derek Bowmer said.READ MORE: Eagles' Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni Noncommittal On Jalen Hurts As Starting QB: 'We're Going To Have Competition At Every Position'
But Philadelphia is still trying to vaccinate people who are older and have health issues.
“Over 80% of people who die from this infection are over the age of 65,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The city was hoping for an additional two weeks before making everyone eligible. The health department says about a quarter of city residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine — and 318,000 adults are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Farley says he’s pleased with vaccine distribution.
“Availability has never been greater and it’s going to continue to increase in the coming days,” Farley said.MORE NEWS: New Mugshot Released As Derek Chauvin Is Booked Into Maximum Security Prison
Officials are warning that even though all adults will be eligible for a vaccine on April 19 it may take much longer to get an actual appointment.