The gist: As Philadelphia readies to expand eligibility to all adults, providers are still racing to vaccinate more than half of the city’s senior citizens. PPP loans were intended as a “job-saving program” for small businesses crushed by the pandemic, but thousands of workers lost their jobs anyway, my colleague Juliana Feliciano Reyes reports.

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

🦠 A new vaccine site is opening at the Esperanza Community Vaccination Center in North Philadelphia. It will be open to the public Saturday. Here’s a look inside.

😷 COVID-19 vaccination stimulates immune response in seniors, but fails in many blood cancer patients, according to a Pitt study.

🏥 Children are waiting longer in the ER for mental health care, a new study found.

💉 A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to compel the Wolf administration to release details of wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses.

🇺🇸 Members of Congress from Pennsylvania are seeking the White House’s help to keep Philly’s largest vaccine provider open.

📚 Philly plans vastly expanded summer school, open to all, and will administer most state tests this spring.

📰 What’s going on near you? We organize recent coverage of the pandemic by local counties and Philly neighborhoods to make it easier for you to find info you care about. Now, you can also get those local headlines sent directly to your inbox by signing up here.

Local coronavirus cases

📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.

Racing to vaccinate seniors as eligibility expands

As Philadelphia readies to expand eligibility to all adults, providers are still racing to vaccinate more than half of the city’s senior citizens. Even among people 75 and older, who have been eligible for vaccination in Philadelphia since Jan. 19, just 48% have received at least a first vaccine dose, a rate that is lagging behind the rest of Pennsylvania and the country. My colleagues report how the digital scheduling system has been a barrier for many seniors who do not have Internet access or are not able to navigate online registration. Read more here about what vaccine providers are doing to help.

These employers got millions in federal coronavirus bailout money and still laid off thousands of Pa. workers

PPP loans were intended as a “job-saving program” for small businesses crushed by the pandemic, but thousands of workers lost their jobs anyway, my colleague Juliana Feliciano Reyes reports. More than 40 local companies laid off or furloughed at least 4,200 workers in the commonwealth despite having received a total of nearly $70 million in PPP loans, the Inquirer found. And those numbers are likely an undercount. Read more here.

Helpful resources

You got this: Take your dog on a hike

Wondering where to take your dog for an adventure without traveling too far? We compiled a list of some of the best options of hiking trails to more offbeat options in the city, the suburbs, and New Jersey. Check them out here.

🎶 The Wells Fargo Center and indie venues announce full-capacity fall shows. Read about them here.

🐮 See how farmers are caring for Saul High’s animals during the pandemic.

📸 Members of the Please Touch Museum were able to return for the first time since the pandemic shut them down. See photos here.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at health@inquirer.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

What we’re paying attention to

  • Much of Europe is experiencing coronavirus outbreaks driven by a new variant, showing us just how dangerous this virus can be, the New York Times reports.

  • Deliveries of millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are delayed after its contract manufacturer failed to win a government certification, the Washington Post reports.

  • Kaiser Health News reported how people who tested negative for COVID-19 could have still been infected. Some of them are still having long-lasting symptoms.

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