The Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) has been on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year. Now, it is on the front lines of preventing the disease.
PFD members will soon begin making house calls to vaccinate homebound residents in addition to their current work staffing mass vaccination clinics in West Philly, Torresdale and West Oak Lane/Mount Airy.
“It’s a bit emotional to see the impact our members are having on people who need this critical vaccine,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel, who is also director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). “PFD & OEM are helping our neighbors in every corner of the city combat this deadly virus.”
The PFD has also vaccinated residents at smaller, pop-up neighborhood clinics at churches in Frankford and Powelton Village; overall, the Fire Department inoculated more than 2,000 people in its first six clinics. PFD and OEM have also provided support to vaccination sites run by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and FEMA.
“Some people actually cry after they get the vaccine – they’re that excited just to be able to see their family members again,” said PFD Paramedic William Logan, who has worked at the clinics. “Some people have been isolated from their family members for over a year.”
The PFD’s mass vaccination clinics – which are by appointment only – can inoculate up to 500 people per day. They are located in West Philly at the Salvation Army; in Torresdale at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein; and in West Oak Lane/Mount Airy at 7800 Ogontz Ave., a new City facility that will eventually house the PFD’s Recruitment Unit and Regional EMS office.
The City is operating nine mass vaccination clinics as of March 31, but overall there are more than 200 places to get the vaccine in Philadelphia. However, supply is limited at all locations. To be notified when you are eligible to be inoculated, fill out the vaccine interest form or call 311.
PFD and OEM involvement in the vaccination effort is made possible through partnerships with the City’s Department of Public Health and many other agencies. The house call program is being created in cooperation with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Stay tuned for details!