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Penn Medicine staff received the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine shipments on Dec. 16, 2020. 

Credit: Courtesy of Penn Medicine

Philadelphia will likely not expand access to COVID-19 vaccines beyond phase 1b until mid-April.

Philadelphia Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the city will probably spend about one month in phase 1c before reaching phase 2, which allows the general public to be vaccinated, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Phase 2 could be completed by the end of July, Farley said.

The timeline remains variable due to factors such as the approval and delivery of vaccines by the federal government, the city's ability to distribute vaccines, and the willingness of residents to take the vaccine, he added.

Currently, frontline essential workers, residents age 75 and older, and those with certain underlying medical conditions are eligible for vaccination, the Inquirer reported. In phase 1c, access will expand to include more essential workers and individuals age 65 and older.

“Things will be improving in the spring, but there’s real hope for the summer,” Farley said.

Farley is optimistic that vaccine distribution will expand significantly in Philadelphia due to an expected increase in supplies, CBS Philly reported. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced that the country could have 600 million vaccine doses available by the end of July.

The federal government is expected to open a mass vaccination clinic in the city next month which will increase the number of shots administered in the region by 6,000 doses a day, the Inquirer reported.

There are current initiatives to vaccinate city residents and address racial disparities in the vaccine rollout. The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium administered 4,000 vaccine doses at a 24-hour mass vaccination clinic in Philadelphia over the weekend, WHYY reported.