Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


About COVID-19 Vaccine

In the United States, there is not yet an authorized or approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The federal government and partners (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) have been working since the pandemic started to make one or more COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as possible.  Many COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently in development or under evaluation.  Early results from clinical studies on several of these vaccines look very promising.

COVID-19 vaccine will not be approved for release in the U.S. unless the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined it to be safe and effective. Due to the critical need for release of COVID vaccines, early vaccine use may be allowable only under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization, prior to the vaccine receiving full FDA licensure. An Emergency Use Authorization does not bypass requirements to show that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is the lead agency in overseeing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to residents of Philadelphia. Distribution will be different than for other vaccines. Healthcare providers and pharmacies will not be able to order this vaccine from manufacturers and suppliers directly. All ordering, storing, administration, and reporting of COVID-19 vaccine use will be managed or overseen by the Health Department. These processes must be conducted in accord with rules and practice guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

In mid-October, the Department of Public Health submitted a draft COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as was required for inclusion in the national strategy. This Plan addresses 15 areas identified by the CDC as the essential planning components. The local Plan was developed by the Health Department, guided by recommendations from the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (see below).

The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan covers a variety of topics, including defining critical populations, recruiting and training providers on vaccine use, storage and handling requirements for the vaccine, models of vaccine distribution, data collection and reporting, public information, and monitoring COVID-19 vaccinations for safety and uptake. The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan is an evolving document that will change over time, as we learn more about the vaccines and figure out the most equitable way to protect people.

Read the Executive Summary of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan.

COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee

The Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) was established to advise the Health Department on planning distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. The VAC is comprised of local stakeholders representing healthcare, vulnerable populations, faith-based organizations, business sectors, insurers, and others affected by the pandemic. The VAC advises the City on prioritization strategies for vaccine distribution, addresses health equity issues, and guides communication and community engagement strategies to build trust and promote vaccine uptake.

Review a list of VAC members.

Initial Vaccine Supply Expected to Be Limited

Given that vaccine availability is likely to be limited initially, Philadelphia is planning for a phased approach to COVID-19 vaccination. In Phase 1, vaccine administration will concentrate on populations at high-risk of acquiring infection, transmitting infection to vulnerable persons, or suffering severe consequences of infection. This may include healthcare workers, critical workforce staff, and elderly residents of long-term care facilities.

As the supply of vaccine increases in Phase 2, the Health Department will expand access to other priority groups such as moderate-risk essential workers and additional persons who might experience complications of infection. In Phase 3, COVID-19 vaccine supply will be sufficient for the entire population.

PDPH will create a broad vaccine administration network to achieve sustainable and  equitable vaccine access across the city, including through private healthcare providers, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, community service organizations, and mass vaccination events.

Healthcare Provider Information

Healthcare Provider Resources & Recommendations


Frequently Asked Questions

How will we know the vaccine is safe?

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Who will be able to get vaccinated?

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Do I need to be vaccinated if I previously had COVID-19?

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Will COVID-19 vaccination be required in Philadelphia?

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Will there be a cost for the vaccine?

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