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February 21, 2021

Thousands of Philly residents inoculated at 24-hour COVID-19 vaccine clinic

The purpose of the walk-up site at the Liacouras Center was to reach Philadelphians living in zip codes that have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

More than 4,000 Philadelphians received COVID-19 vaccine doses this weekend at the 24-hour walk-up vaccination site that was hosted at the Liacouras Center.

The marathon vaccine clinic, which was operated by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, drew thousands of Philly residents, many of whom were forced to wait in line for hours in the frigid temperatures outside to be inoculated against the coronavirus. Organizers had previously advised attendees to dress warm in preparation for long lines in the cold weather.

People began showing up as early as 9 a.m. on Friday for the walk-up vaccination site, which ran from noon Friday until noon Saturday, according to WHYY. The line wrapped for blocks around the arena.

"I expected a lot," said Dr. Ala Stanford, the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. "I don’t know that I expected this."

The organization issued about 200 COVID-19 vaccine doses per hour, according to KYW. It had the capacity to vaccinate 600 to 800 people every six hours.

The goal of the event was to administer at least 2,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, but that number was met and surpassed by Friday night. The clinic had to reach out to city officials to get thousands of more COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered in the early morning hours Saturday.

The "vax-a-thon" was the first walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic offered in Philly. Vaccines were offered on a first come, first serve basis and appointments were not required.

The clinic was open to any resident eligible under Phase 1B of the city's vaccination plan. They also had to be living in one of the 20 zip codes with the highest COVID-19 infection rates and deaths. All Philly seniors age 75 and older were eligible regardless of zip code. 

Attendees had to bring documentation showing that they met Phase 1B criteria and lived in one of the following zip codes: 19104, 19119, 19121, 19123, 19124, 19126, 19131, 19132, 19138, 19139, 19140, 19141, 19142, 19143, 19144, 19145, 19146, 19150, 19151 and 19153. 

Phase 1B of the city's COVID-19 vaccination plan includes first responders, teachers and other child care providers, food distribution and preparation employees, transit workers, congregate care workers and residents, and people with high-risk medical conditions. 

People who attended the clinic were sorted into one of four lines. One was for people 75 and older. A second line was for people who were receiving their first doses but previously registered for one. People who had registered were asked to bring confirmation to the event.

A third line was for people who had not registered. The fourth line was for non-English speakers. Spanish and Mandarin translators were situated on-site. 

The clinic aimed to increase accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines among people who work long hours or have had difficulty making an online appointment.

Every resident who received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at the 24-hour vaccination clinic has been scheduled to receive their booster shot in March at Deliverance Evangelistic Baptist Church in North Philly.

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is planning to work with city officials and Temple University, the home of the Liacouras Center, to decide if another walk-up marathon vaccination clinic will be held in the future, according to 6ABC.

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium formed near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to bring aid to people of color in Philadelphia. The group has partnered with the city to provide COVID-19 tests and vaccines. 

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