PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine distribution as the number of coronavirus cases in the city has now exceeded 100,000. Officials also revealed that two cases of the United Kingdom variant strain have been found in Philadelphia.
During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced that vaccine distribution to residents in phase 1B can start immediately.
Those identified who should receive a vaccine in phase 1B include:
- Frontline essential workers
- Those who live and work in congregate settings
- People over the age of 75
- People with certain high-risk medical conditions
Farley cautioned that there are a limited number of doses being delivered to Philadelphia through the end of February and some may have to wait some time before getting the vaccine.
"It's simply going to take months," Farley said of the vaccine rollout.
So how can you now tell if you're now eligible to get the vaccine?
Well, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created this website right here, PA.gov. You go on and fill out the COVID Vaccine Eligibility Quiz. If you are able to get the shot, it will tell you and also say exactly where to go to get the vaccine. The only caveat is the rules are different in Philadelphia.
"So it's going to be a little bit complicated that our system is going to be somewhat different from people in the suburbs," Dr. Farley said.
He says the minimum age to receive the vaccine within city limits and without other conditions is 75. City officials say there just isn't enough supply, which is why the rules in Philadelphia are different.
"We have to concern ourselves with racial equity here and many people, African American folks have diabetes or heart conditions put them at greater risk, we want to make sure that they have early access to the vaccine," he said.
Dr. Farley expects a website for city residents wanting to get the vaccine should be up and running by the end of this week.
"It's simply an expression of interest, let us know you're interested in getting the vaccine, leaving your contact information and then when people are eligible we will contact them about how to schedule an appointment," he said.
Meanwhile, the city reported another 1,666 additional cases, bringing the total to 101,629 since the beginning of the pandemic.
"This is an unfortunate reminder that COVID is still very much with us. And I have no doubt that without ten months of hard work, Dr. Farley's leadership, precautions and -- yes -- restrictions that none of us likes -- we would have hit that dubious milestone far earlier. The vaccine will take months to fully roll out, so our diligence, and our devotion to helping others -- must continue. Of course, we are hopeful the end will come, particularly with a new presidential administration in Washington," Kenney said.
CBS3's Greg Argos reports.
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