Philly Health Commissioner Doesn’t Want Lincoln Financial Field as Vaccination Site

Let’s get it back to the COVID vaccine.

You’ve seen in other states and other cities how they’re using stadia as mass vaccination sites. Yankee Stadium, Gillette, and Michigan’s “Big House” are just a few of the venues opening their doors to health care providers.

Here at home, we’ve got some options, right? Citizens Bank Park? Lincoln Financial Field? That’s a no, according to Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who is quoted in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article:

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley spoke out against the idea at a City Council hearing Friday, saying a stadium site may attract residents from surrounding counties and states and wouldn’t advance the city’s goals of focusing on racial equity and vulnerable residents in vaccine distribution.

”Who’s going to drive into there? Not just people who have cars in Philadelphia but people who have cars in Delaware and the state of Pennsylvania,” Farley told a Council committee. “So it’s going to maybe drain the vaccine away from populations that we’re supposed to be vaccinating. We are allocated vaccine based upon our resident population, not based upon the metropolitan area.”

It’s a valid point. We don’t want a 25 year old driving in from Phoenixville to get the vaccine while the 67-year-old Port Richmond grandmother has to sit and wait. And it’s not like everybody in Philadelphia drives a car, so asking Fairmount or Olney residents to just swing on down to the Sports Complex isn’t totally feasible. We’d have to get family members and community groups to help with transport, or accompany folks on SEPTA or something along those lines.

On the other hand, can’t you just ask for ID? Schedule appointments? We’re not getting people vaccinated quickly enough because we’re worried that we’re giving it to the wrong people, and that’s commendable, but it’s ultimately slowing the process down. Logistically, using a cavernous stadium to vaccinate quickly and efficiently seems easier to pull off vs. going hyperlocal in a city of 1.5 million people.

Farley has the right idea from a moral perspective, but there has to be a better way to get more needles in more arms.

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