Fiedler joins South Philadelphia elected officials to advocate for increased vaccine access

PHILADELPHIA, March 2 — Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dramatically changed life in Philadelphia and across the world, a group of elected officials who represent South Philadelphia in city, state and federal government called for improved vaccine access in South Philadelphia.

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., said that while acknowledging doses remain limited, it is nonetheless concerning that the city’s map of vaccination sites clearly shows that South Philadelphia is dramatically unserved.

“I hear from constituents everyday who have spent the last year just trying to get by. Many South Philly senior citizens are unable to travel the considerable distance that is currently required of them to get the vaccine. I am advocating for them to get local access to a shot that could save their life!” Fielder said.

Fiedler was joined by state Rep. Regina Young, state Sen. Nikil Saval and city Councilman Mark Squilla in sending a letter to city Health Department Commissioner Thomas Farley calling for the city to work quickly to add vaccination sites in South Philadelphia. They identified the need for vaccination sites for senior citizens specifically, as well as supporting a proposal submitted to the city by Jefferson Health, in partnership with SEAMAAC and others, to create a vaccination site at their new health clinic -- the Wyss Wellness Center -- along with other possible locations. They also highlighted the necessity of diverse language access plans for ensuring successful vaccination efforts.

The city sites in Kensington and North and West Philadelphia reportedly have the capacity to vaccinate up to 500 people a day and will eventually add a second standing clinic for second doses. At that point, the three clinics will be able to administer a total of 3,000 first- and second-dose shots per week. 

The officials wrote: “For the last year, we have called upon people to make sacrifices to get through the pandemic, with the goal of the vaccine’s arrival on the horizon. Now the vaccine is here, but it remains virtually inaccessible for many people who live in a huge portion of our city. So many people across South Philadelphia already have inconsistent or nonexistent access to healthcare and to the internet. We cannot let physical distance add another barrier to accessing the vaccine.”

The letter in its entirety is available online.