PHILADELPHIA—People all across the United States are having some initial difficulty finding the updated COVID vaccine, especially pediatric doses This is due to delays in shipping from manufacturers. For this fall season, the U.S. CDC has worked to “commercialize” the COVID vaccine and is no longer shipping directly to local and state health departments to distribute to the public. The CDC and local health departments have been encouraging residents to get their COVID vaccine wherever they get their flu shot, but many people have found no open appointments or found their appointments canceled. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is issuing the following recommendations to help Philadelphians know what to expect and ensure that they can get their COVID vaccine as soon as possible.
“We continue to strongly recommend that everyone in Philadelphia get their COVID vaccine as soon as possible to help keep them from experiencing a severe case should they catch COVID-19,” said Dr. Landrus Burress. “However, we acknowledge that that’s easier said than done at this point. The most important thing you can do right now is call ahead to make sure they have a vaccine for you. Parents should also consider waiting until the end of September before seeking out a pediatric dose of COVID vaccine to make sure that it’s available. We understand the frustration of having to wait, but implore folks to be patient: the COVID vaccine will protect you through the whole winter, even if you don’t get it until a few weeks after you hoped to.”
The Health Department recommends that Philadelphians consider the following when looking for COVID vaccine:
- Call ahead to your vaccine provider to make sure they have a COVID vaccine for you before you show up
- If you are low-risk, meaning you’re NOT over the age of 65, pregnant, have chronic conditions, smoke, or are overweight or obese, consider waiting a week or two before setting an appointment to get vaccinated. You’ll be more likely to find a vaccine then.
- Parents will be much more likely to find a pediatric dose of COVID-19 vaccine around the beginning of October. Pediatric vaccine seems to be shipping more slowly than adult doses.
- Before setting an appointment for a vaccine, confirm that your insurance considers your vaccine provider “in network.” Federal rules have changed this year, and insurance providers are allowed to charge for “out of network” vaccinations.
In addition to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the Health Department continues to recommend that residents stock up on items that will help them in case of an outbreak of COVID. This includes high-quality masks and at-home COVID tests. For people who cannot purchase these items, they are available for free at Health Department Resource Hubs throughout the city. And the federal government will restart its free COVID-19 test program on 9/25/2023 with tests available at covidtests.gov.
The Health Department continues to maintain the City’s COVID-19 website, which contains the latest recommendations and information on COVID-19 and the COVID vaccine.