'We're not perfect': Mayor Kenney backs health commissioner after COVID-19 vaccination issues

Mayor Kenney issued a statement in support of health commissioner Thomas Farley amid the current fallout from their partnership with Philly Fighting COVID. 

"The last eleven months responding to pandemic has been very grueling for everyone involved, especially our health department," Mayor Kenney acknowledged before passing some blame to the federal government. "Overall I'm very proud of the city's response which was stymied for a long time by the lack of coordination and misinformation spread by the federal government."

He went on to list the many things that he is proud of concerning the city's response to the pandemic including creating a field hospital for testing, setting hard restrictions, and the achievements made with partners.

"I'm the first to admit we're not perfect and that we've made mistakes that we all deeply regret, but we are committed to doing better and restoring the public's faith in the city's ability to get our residents vaccinated."

In relation to Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley's work, Mayor Kenney said, "I'm confident in Dr. Farley's leadership and he has the support of myself and the entire government behind him."

As a result of the immense backlash, Philadelphia Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Caroline Johnson resigned from her position on Saturday after she allegedly gave two organizations preferential treatment as the city mulled proposals for vaccination clinics.

The health commissioner detailed having learned of emails between Dr. Johnson and Philly Fighting COVID's Andrei Doroshin which suggested that there was some information given to select parties outside of all necessary participants.

Dr. Johnson acknowledged sharing the emails and recognized that there could be an "unfair advantage" thus prompting her resignation.

Dr. Farley did confirm that she didn't favor any organizations over the other nor was there any insider information shared.

From here on out, all applicants will have the same information at the same time now as Dr. Farley explained Monday so there can be no risk of advantages to one partner over another. 

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.

Philadelphia is still 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. 


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