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Philadelphia has achieved the goal of having 70 percent of the adult population have at least one dose of COVID vaccine, beating President Joe Biden’s national July 4 target day by two weeks.
Philly’s vax percentage appears to be higher than in several other major U.S. cities, but still traces a bit of state and suburban collar circles.
Pennsylvania reached the 70% first dose target in May. New Jersey tells more than 75 percent of residents about a single dose, according to the CDC.
Last week, city data showed that 69% of Philadelphians over the age of 18 had been partially vaccinated, with officials expecting the figure to rise within a week, according to health department spokesman James Garrow.
About 56% of Philadelphia residents are completely vaxed by current data. The city also goes a little behind the neighboring countries in this statistic.
The difference between partial and complete vaccination is partly explained by the waiting times between the first and second dose, but there are some who received the first dose but skipped the second. As of early May, the number was about 24,000 people – a small number compared to nearly a million residents and a partially vaccinated non-resident in the city.
The department only counts someone behind the vaccination 42 days after their first dose toward Garrowa, who said the opening has slowly closed each week.
“The proportion of fully vaccinated has risen faster than that of people with at least one dose,” he wrote in an email. “It’s not a huge overrun, but it encourages us.”
Philadelphia health officials are proud of the progress since the introduction of a six-month stormy vaccine sparked by scandals and changes in leadership.
In January, the department’s relationship with Philly Fighting COVID, a 22-year-old distributor of booster vaccines with medical experience, ended in a national scandal and led to the resignation of the second head of the health department. In May, former Health Commissioner Tom Farley resigned from an unrelated incident involving the remains of children killed in the 1985 MOVE bombings.
The city continued to vaccinate two-thirds of adults – more than 857,000 people in six months, according to the health department.
Health Department spokesman Garrow said the progress was a welcome surprise.
“I don’t think there’s a person in the world who would say we can do it – us too,” Garrow said. “What we’ve seen in the last six months has been incredibly frustrating, but it’s still pretty amazing.”
Comparing the vaccination rate in Philadelphia to peer cities is not easy. The CDC monitors dosing by province, and unlike Philadelphia, which is its own county and municipality, some U.S. cities have parts of several counties that also cover suburbs. Philadelphia was also one of only five cities to administer its own COVID vaccine program separately from the state government.
However, Philadelphia’s first dose rate is high compared to other cities that report themselves to the adult population. Here are the figures for June 21:
Closing Philly’s final vaccination deficit remains a significant challenge, as health experts expect to include a number of people who are either too busy to be vaccinated or hesitant about the shot.
The city launched the Philly Vax competition this month, which offered up to $ 50,000 as an incentive for residents to get a stomach, and has partnered with the Sixers and Phillies to offer free tickets at vaccine clinics.
The health department will also continue the media outreach campaign as well as the door-to-door event, Garrow said.
People who skip their second COVID shot are a nationwide problem. White House health officials estimate that millions will not return for follow-up, which could leave a person more susceptible to the coronavirus and its mutations.
The reasons for the half-vax mode seem to be driving. Some see it as a fear of the side effects of another shot, while others mention scheduling complications or the belief that one dose is adequate protection against a virus that has killed nearly 600,000 people in the United States.
“We are concerned that their protection is not perfect,” Garrow said of Philadelphia residents who leave out.
Scientific studies show that partial vaccination is less effective against a highly contagious virus delta variant – which could quickly become the dominant strain in the United States
There are no variant cases in Philadelphia yet, Garrow said, but “if we start to see cases here, people who thought they were protected might be at greater risk than they thought.”