PHILADELPHIA - Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley are promising improved transparency in the vaccine rollout following the Inspector General’s report released Monday on the city’s former partnership with Philly Fighting COVID.
Philly Fighting COVID that was led by 22-year-old Drexel grad student Andrei Doroshin was embroiled in controversy after the city pulled the plug on its mass vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. City leaders claim Doroshin quietly switched his organization to a for-profit which raised concerns about potentially selling personal information.
"Philly Fighting COVID was a mistake—we’ve said as much—but we must also note the Inspector General found no malice, no ill-intent, and no one seeking personal gain. The Inspector General found that these decisions were made with the goal of moving quickly during the emergency. I agree. This was a case of bad decisions being made in the midst of a lengthy and constantly evolving crisis, and a top manager who should have been more directly involved," Kenney said.
Following recommendations and requests from Kenney and the Office of the Inspector General, the health department developed a plan to strengthen the oversight of the COVID-19 vaccination effort and vaccine providers with a goal that all current and future partners deliver vaccine in a safe, equitable, and professional manner.
Kenney said he is confident Dr. Farley’s plan will avoid similar issues in the future.
"I remain extremely proud of the Commissioner and his department’s staff for their tireless efforts over the past year, and for his response to this matter. Our administration is committed to seeing this great city through the pandemic, to improving the racial and economic equity of vaccinations, and continuing the level of transparency that this report," he added.
Farley thanked the Office of the Inspector General for its thorough review of their procedures and its clear, actionable recommendations.
"I was pleased to learn that they did not identify any illegal or unethical actions by Department of Health employees. That said, it is my responsibility that the Health Department doesn’t make bad decisions—like working with PFC—no matter how quickly we are trying to respond to this epidemic. We have been and will continue to work hard to vaccinate Philadelphia residents appropriately, quickly, and equitably, and to rebuild the public trust."
Kenney and Farley also added they are working on expanding access to vaccines for city residents.
Mobile users can read the full report, here.
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