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The Philadelphia Health Department recently decided to no longer supply COVID-19 vaccines from distributor Philly Fighting COVID after the organization switched to a for-profit model. (Photo provided by Sukhmani Kaur)

The Philadelphia Health Department has decided to stop supplying COVID-19 vaccine distributor Philly Fighting COVID with doses, forcing many residents to re-register for a vaccination appointment through the city.

The decision comes after PFC, which has already vaccinated thousands of Philadelphia residents, suddenly switched to a for-profit model and unexpectedly stopped offering COVID-19 tests. The Philadelphia Health Department announced that it would stop working with PFC on Monday because of their updated privacy policy, which grants permission for the organization to sell data collected through PFC’s pre-registration website.

Drexel graduate student and PFC CEO Andrei Doroshin told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the updated privacy policy was a mistake and that the city knew about the change to for-profit status. He added that PFC never intended to sell patients' data.

According to five former volunteers and staff members at PFC, Doroshin and other executives spoke openly about profiting from the vaccine, WHYY reported.

“They weren’t even bragging about how they were helping the community. They were bragging about how rich they were going to get,” a former PFC volunteer told WHYY. 

Philadelphia has received at least seven applications from institutions including Penn Medicine and Temple Health to serve as vaccine providers for the community. If selected, Penn plans to partner with a federally qualified health clinic to distribute the vaccine, Billy Penn reported. Temple University also plans to implement a network of mobile vans to offer COVID-19 vaccines.

Many thought PFC’s COVID-19 vaccination site was city-run after Mayor Jim Kenney and other officials attended the opening of the PFC site. This, however, is not the case and led to much confusion about the group’s affiliations. 

A release on Jan. 8 from the Philadelphia Department of Health encouraged people to sign up for a vaccine with PFC. Philadelphia is now requiring those who signed up for a vaccine with PFC to re-register on a website made by the city. Those who received their first doses of the vaccine through PFC will be moved to another provider.   

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