- One group of doctors vaccinated nearly 4,000 Philadelphians in one single 24-hour vax-a-thon.
- The event was held to make the vaccine more accessible to at-risk people, including Black residents.
- Disparities in access have been some of the many issue surrounding the vaccine rollout.
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A group of Black doctors vaccinated almost 4,000 residents of Philadelphia in one day, single-handedly outpacing the city’s average daily vaccination rate of 3,500, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
That’s more than 200 people an hour, Dr. Ala Stanford told the Inquirer — and still, people were waiting in line for hours in chilly conditions.
The 24-hour “vax-a-thon” was hosted February 19-20 by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, a Philly-based advocacy and education group, in an effort to make the vaccine more accessible.
“The end goal was for everybody in line to get vaccinated, and they did,” Stanford told the Inquirer. “From that perspective, I would call it a success, but room for improvement.”
Over 100 workers helped pull off the event, hosted at Liacouras Center with the support of Temple University. The idea was to offer vaccination to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able get it, due to time constraints like work or lack of access to transportation during normal appointment times.
“So if you get off work, 10, 11 o’clock, you want to come get your shot, we’re here,” Stanford told Philadelphia KYW Newsradio. “If you have to be at work at 7 in the morning, come to us at 5:30, we are here.”
The Consortium’s aim was to vaccinate at least 2000 people during the event. They fielded more than 46,000 appointment requests online, including from people outside the city, KYW reported.
Because of the overwhelming number of requests, the vax-a-thon prioritized people with chronic health conditions, the elderly, and residents in some of the hardest-hit zip codes in the city.
Disparities have plagued vaccine rollouts nationwide
Three out of every four people vaccinated in the event were people of color, the Inquirer reported.
In contrast, a majority (55%) of people vaccinated in Philly are white, even though people of color make up 60% of the city’s population. And just 53% of the city’s vaccine supply has gone to Philadelphia residents, according to the Inquirer.
The racial disparities in vaccine access have been an ongoing issue, not just in Philly but nationwide.
That’s in part due to vaccine tourism, people opting to skip the line or delays at home in favor of a more available inoculation in another state.
While communities of color are hardest-hit by the virus, affluent, often white Americans have an easier time accessing the vaccine, Business Insider previously reported.
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