In a letter addressed to Health Commissioner Thomas Farley on Friday, Mayor Jim Kenney called for an internal investigation into Philly Fighting COVID’s involvement with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, with findings released to the public within a month.
Farley has faced calls to resign over the scandal concerning former testing and vaccine provider Philly Fighting COVID. However, the Mayor is expressing support for the questioned public servant.
“I am disappointed by what has transpired with the organization Philly Fighting COVID. I know you share my concerns,” Kenney wrote according to a WHYY report. And he added, “you and your team have my confidence, and most importantly, the full force of the city government at your disposal to complete this latest, and vital mission.”
The city cut ties with Philly Fighting COVID after reports raised questions about the group’s privacy policies, revelations that founder Andrei Doroshin , a 22-year-old graduate student at Drexel University , had changed the organization’s status to for-profit, and PFC’s abrupt discontinuation of community testing it had been conducting in city neighborhoods.
“We made a mistake in working with this organization,” Farley said in an interview Friday. He agrees with Kenney’s requests, saying “I think it’s an appropriate way to really learn from this and improve.”
Mayor Kenney expressed relief that Philly Fighting COVID “only” allotted roughly 6% of Philadelphia’s vaccine supply. However, he noted that still “represents thousands of Philadelphians eager to get their second dose.” Kenney demanded the department hold vaccination clinics to ensure people who received their first dose from Philly Fighting COVID’s site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center will get their second doses on time, and from qualified professionals.
Secure the second dose
Before PFC was kicked out of the program, it administered about 7,000 doses to patients, over three January weekends at a Pennsylvania Convention Center pop-up clinic set up via a non-contractual arrangement with the city Health Department.
In the Friday letter to Farley, Kenney ordered the department to set up its own clinics to ensure that residents who had received their first vaccine shots from the disgraced group eventually received a critical second dose.