PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia is working to ensure thousands of patients who received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine from the recently defunct Philly Fighting COVID mass vaccination clinic will get their crucial second dose on time.
The city severed its relationship with Philly Fighting COVID after accusations that the organization was trying to profit off running the site. Philly Fighting COVID, lead by 22-year-old Drexel grad student Andrei Doroshin, was tasked with inoculating thousands of home healthcare workers who are unaffiliated with a hospital.
City officials said they gave Doroshin the task because he and his friends had organized one of the community groups that set up COVID-19 testing sites throughout the city last year. But they shut the vaccine operation down once they learned that Doroshin had switched his privacy notice to potentially sell patient data, a development he calls a glitch that he quickly fixed.
"I’m a freaking grad student. But you know what? We did the job. We vaccinated 7,000 people," the Drexel University student said. "This was us doing our part in this crazy time."
Doroshin also conceded that he took home four doses of the Pfizer vaccine and administered it to friends, although he is neither a nurse nor a licensed health practitioner. He said he did so only after exhausting other options. There were 100 extra doses set to expire that night, and the site was able to round up just 96 eligible recipients, he said.
"They either had to go into an arm or be thrown out," said Doroshin, who said he had done intramuscular injections before. "I felt OK ethically. ... There’s nothing that I did that was illegal."
Mayor Jim Kenney on Friday gave the Philadelphia Department of Health a 30-day deadline to write a public report on how it came to partner with Philly Fighting COVID for both testing and vaccinations. The report, according to the mayor's office, will help identify weaknesses in vetting potential partners.
Meanwhile, Kenney ordered all of the doses reserved for Philly Fighting COVID to be reallocated to other health care organizations, including the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. City data shows just 12% of the city’s vaccinations have gone to Black residents, who make up 42% of the city’s population.
As for the thousands of healthcare workers who received their first dose from Philly Fighting COVID's shuttered clinic, Kenney ordered special clinics to ensure those people get their crucial second dose.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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