Looking for help with finding vaccine in Philadelphia
March 14, 2021 8:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm category 1B, and Philadelphia isn't exactly well-supplied. At this point, I know to keep hammering on the Walgreen's website, but I'm hoping there's a group which knows things like whether it's worth showing up at a Walgreen's in the hope of a spare dose. Thank you for any help you can give.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You'll laugh, but...a friend of mine left his name and number at a few local pharmacies. The next day he pulled up the NYC vax site finder map, found another dozen sites within a 10 minute bike ride of his apartment, and in three hours hit them all. He made a flyer (I kid you not), saying, "Open vial? Extra dose? Don't let it go to waste! Call John Smith at [phone number]. I'm nearby" and left it with whichever pharmacies would take it. He said that two-thirds of the places wouldn't take his information, but a few did. Three days later, he got a call; the pharmacist told him it was because of the flyer. He went and got his first shot at 9 PM.

This may be too much trouble for a small chance at a payoff, but it did work for my friend.
posted by holborne at 9:11 PM on March 14, 2021 [6 favorites]


Are either the Pennsylvania Convention Center or VaccineFinder.org (the official CDC site) helpful to you?
posted by metabaroque at 9:27 PM on March 14, 2021


Response by poster: metabaroque, I don't think so. Walgreens seems to be the only store that's got vaccine (for 1B?) in Philly. The Convention Center is gauging things so they don't have extra vaccines, though I might try there again in a few days.

They're hoping to get to all the 1As by the end of the month.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 10:21 PM on March 14, 2021


It’s not specific to (just) Philadelphia, but try COVID Vaccine Hunters PA on Facebook. Groups like this post tips, when certain sites like CVS etc have openings, and also have individuals personally willing to help others find scheduling.
posted by blue suede stockings at 10:35 PM on March 14, 2021 [5 favorites]


If you use Facebook, there seems to be many local groups forming to help people find doses. They're all volunteer, but my state's group seems to be helping a lot of people out -- here's PA's -- maybe there'll be people there who can help you?

I popped onto Nextdoor today and there are also a good number of posts by people trying to help others find doses.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:36 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


I would go into each site near you that is giving vaccines and ask them how they are handling extra doses. When I got my vaccine at the local CVS right after they started giving the vaccine, they had a pad of paper at the check-in desk for people interested in last minute surplus doses. I put my husband's name on the list. Tonight (about two weeks later) he got a call saying he could get a shot if he could get to the store within 10 minutes. When he arrived, there was one other person who gotten a call and couple of people waiting around to see if any of the last minute calls were a no-show. He and the other person called both got their shots.

Another friend told me that the local hospital had a procedure where you had to show up early in the morning to get on the waiting list for that specific day. If there were extra shots and you were early enough on the waiting list, you got called to come back. If not, you had to go in person to get back on the list for the next day.

Anyway, based on my California experience, each place to seems to have their own system and the only way to find out is to walk in, in person and ask.
posted by metahawk at 12:06 AM on March 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


I am in Philly and also 1B and I got my vaccine through Black Doctors Consortium. If you are in any of the hardest hit zip codes in Philly, they are awesome (but bring a chair if you go, the wait is long). The supply situation is getting better; after I got my first dose I heard from 2 of my doctors that I was eligible through their practice if I hadn’t gotten it yet (University of Pennsylvania and Main Line Health).
posted by eleanna at 3:49 AM on March 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


My neighbor was able to get a vaccine at the Broad & Snyder Walgreens by calling & adding his name to a waiting list for unused vaccines. They call around 7:30 after they've finished their daily appointments and ask if you're available to come in. Not sure if other Walgreens in the city are doing something similar.
posted by ellebee at 4:35 AM on March 15, 2021


It’s not specific to (just) Philadelphia, but try COVID Vaccine Hunters PA on Facebook. Groups like this post tips, when certain sites like CVS etc have openings, and also have individuals personally willing to help others find scheduling.

This is what I was going to suggest. The equivalent group here is doing amazing work connecting people with doses. The official websites are a mess, and it is really complicated with different providers having different and shifting criteria (like, only serving people over a certain age and not other prioritized categories).
posted by Dip Flash at 6:03 AM on March 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Did you sign up for the city's vaccine form? Once you're in the queue for this, you'll be notified when you can get vaccinated at the Convention Center, a vaccine site that is getting about 5,000 people per day and being run by FEMA. We found a form for this online, and didn't sign up, but I did share it w several friends, and they were able to sign up.

I got vaccinated through my partner's job at Centennial Pharmacy. (I'm in 1-b as well, I had signed up for various vaccine queues, this opportunity just came up first .)

My partner was also contacted by Penn to inform him of their vaccine availability for him, although he's already covered through work. I understand Penn and Jefferson health systems are working to acquire and immunize people in their systems.

If you work in a restaurant, there's the Save Philadelphia Restaurants vaccine group which is just a coalition of restaurant owners who banned together to secure vaccines for restaurant workers. I believe they are holding vaccinations for restaurant workers in Rittenhouse Square at the goat statue (lol), but I actually don't know the procedure for accessing this queue.
posted by erattacorrige at 6:28 AM on March 15, 2021


Also suggesting joining a local vaccine hunters Facebook group. I don’t qualify yet myself, but the info I got from the group I joined was invaluable in helping me book appts for both my parents. Best of luck to you!
posted by bookmammal at 6:32 AM on March 15, 2021


If you're a patient at ANY Penn medicine practice, or have ever been, or maybe just create an account, there's an interest form in the PennMed portal and they're sending out scheduling tickets. I'm not sure exactly how it works because all my doctors are part of the network, but I filled out the form as soon as it was available and was sent a scheduling ticket a few weeks ago.

And of course if you're affiliated with NJ, they're vaccinating people who live, work, or go to school in NJ.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:05 AM on March 15, 2021


Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'm not in one of the hardest-hit zip codes. I've signed up with the city and Dr. B.

Ellebee, thank you very much for the clue about the Broad and Snyder Walgreens.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:34 AM on March 15, 2021


Response by poster: Oh, and I'm signed up with the Black Doctors, but I'm not in their target group.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:35 AM on March 15, 2021


In case it's new information: a friend (in Philadelphia) says that the Walgreens & Rite Aid websites open/release their new appointments at midnight and that CVS does it at 6am.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:48 AM on March 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: I called the Broad and Snyder Walgreens-- they said their waiting list was backed up five or six months and they're not taking walk-ins. I have no idea whether any of this is true.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:49 AM on March 15, 2021


Response by poster: needs more cowbell (we all need more cowbell), my local CVS says CVS's in the city aren't getting vaccine at all. I just don't know.

Walgreens are the only chain that I'm sure is doing vaccinations in Philly. I'll try them at midnight.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 9:25 AM on March 15, 2021


I think vaccines are only being distributed to people confirmed working in 1-a and 1-b at this time. Can your employer advocate on your behalf?
posted by erattacorrige at 10:22 AM on March 15, 2021


Response by poster: I'm retired. And past 65. And diabetic and obese. The websites seem to think I qualify.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:08 AM on March 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Ah, my friend is technically just outside the city limits--Montgomery County, I think--but was looking at a variety of locations. She was able to get a Rite Aid appointment, not sure if Rite Aid has the vaccine within the city and/or if the Rite Aid locations outside the city will let people with city addresses make appointments.

Hope you're able to get one!
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:56 PM on March 15, 2021


I am in Philly and was able to get a vaccine at a Rite Aid in city limits as a healthcare worker whose employer doesn’t have their own vaccine. Add that to your list of places to check.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:24 PM on March 15, 2021


Best answer: I'm in Philly and a volunteer vaccinator. The secret phrase is "independent pharmacy". I personally recommend Parkway Pharmacy.

If you are not able to score an appointment, and I think you will be able to do this easily, memail me.
posted by citygirl at 8:21 PM on March 15, 2021


Agree seeking out a local "vaccine hunters" facebook group. A FB group for Maryland has this google spreadsheet going around. FYI it seems that some pharmacies (e.g. Rite Aid) are focusing on teachers right now.
posted by oceano at 8:58 PM on March 15, 2021


Looks like the Convention Center is going to start taking walk-ups.
posted by coppermoss at 4:56 PM on March 16, 2021


Response by poster: coppermoss, I'm not in one of the zip codes they're vaccinating.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:22 AM on March 17, 2021


Response by poster: I'm signed up for an appointment at 12PM at Parkway Pharmacy. Fingers crossed. I'm not believing it's going to happen until the needle goes in.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:32 AM on March 17, 2021 [5 favorites]


Response by poster: Mission accomplished. I've been to Parkway Pharmacy and gotten my first shot.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2021 [3 favorites]


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