Stakeholders present “Operation Philly Special” to work with those willing to step up and create large drive-thru and walk-up sites across the city, accessible to everyone
PHILADELPHIA –Several City Councilmembers, former elected officials and community partners joined today outside the Philadelphia Sports Complex at the NRG Station to call on the Mayor’s Administration to create a comprehensive mass vaccination plan that includes large sites for drive-thru and walk-up clinics across the city.
The group presented a proposed plan called “Operation Philly Special” that focuses on engaging stakeholders who are ready to support the city with mass vaccination efforts, including the Philadelphia Eagles who have expressed interest in making Lincoln Financial Field available for a safe, efficient vaccination site at the stadium. Councilmember Allan Domb (At Large) and former Congressman Bob Brady started contacting individuals and organizations more than two weeks ago to get the proposed plans in place.
“Our city has fumbled and tripped along the way since late December in working to get the vaccinations out to residents in an equitable, responsible, and patient-friendly manner,” said Councilmember Domb. “While the city has created sites to conduct vaccinations, we need a mass vaccination plan that replicates the efforts being made across the nation in other cities. We need sites that use best practices informed by our health systems and cities like New York, Boston and LA, as well as non-profits like the Black Doctors Covid-19 Consortium who have been working to ensure we leave no one behind during the distribution process.”
“We have already reached out to our city’s leading healthcare providers weeks ago and they all expressed an interest in working with our health systems and labor organizations to make these mass vaccination sites a reality,” said Brady.
In addition to Councilmember Domb and Brady, the individuals that joined in calling on Mayor Kenney to create a comprehensive plan included Councilmembers Cindy Bass, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Derek Green, and Mark Squilla; State Senator Sharif Street; Chris Woods, President of 1199C; and former Mayor John Street.
“If we are going to be successful in inoculating all Philadelphians against COVID-19 and getting our City back to some sense of recognizable normalcy, we need to do everything possible to enhance our levels of preparedness and productivity to efficiently ramp up citywide vaccinations,” said Councilmember Derek Green. “We must look at all methods of targeting the
communities most severely impacted by this pandemic and reassuring them that their City has their back. That means we leave nothing to chance and that all options are on the table.”
“As we continue to grapple with the impact of COVID19, we need to reach out to our trusted community partners and messengers to ensure we have the most effective and efficient vaccination operation,” said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. “Our residents deserve nothing less. While our vaccination doses are limited, we can still work to create easily accessible places for Philadelphians who are eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated while simultaneously building the necessary infrastructure for a mass vaccination program. I want to thank my colleague, Councilmember Allan Domb, for his innovative approach and dedication to this important issue.”
“Outdoor mass vaccination sites seem to be working well in many states,” said Councilmember Mark Squilla. “Lincoln Financial Field offers a good option for our City to vaccinate many of our residents in a central location.”
The officials and community partners pointed to the support from President Joe Biden to use stadiums as mass vaccination sites and from the Philadelphia Eagles leadership that said they are standing by waiting for the call to action. Organizers also called on Governor Tom Wolf to mobilize the National Guard if needed to help the city quickly make the sites operation and provide staff power to execute the on-site intake and discharge of patients.
“When the call comes in and the supplies are here, we cannot be on our heels, scrambling to find our partners to get them to the table,” said Councilmember Domb. “We need this plan now with vetted and coordinated details laid out for every to see.”