Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) will soon begin making house calls to vaccinate homebound residents in addition to their current work staffing mass vaccination clinics in West Philadelphia, 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 also serves as director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). “PFD and 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. A new city facility at 7800 Ogontz Ave. 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.
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.