Philadelphia officials plan to launch a website this week for residents to register to receive information about the coronavirus vaccine — but thousands of residents have already registered with a third-party organization that has caused some confusion.
Philly Fighting COVID, an organization that is partnering with the city to vaccinate residents, has a registration website that Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said is not affiliated with the city.
”There’s been a lot of confusion around this,” Farley said. “That is not the city’s website.”
Philadelphia city officials, including Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilmembers Bobby Henon and Cindy Bass, and acting Deputy Health Commissioner Caroline Johnson, were in attendance at the launch of Philly Fighting COVID’s mass vaccine clinic at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The Philly Fighting COVID website directs visitors to its own signup page, telling them to “get on the waitlist by pre-committing now.” Its “COVIDReadi” system allows users to log in and asks for personal information to pre-register for the vaccine, including date of birth, cell phone number, race, employer, and medical conditions.
While Philly Fighting COVID will continue to receive some of the city’s available doses of the vaccine and will help distribute it to eligible residents, that pre-registration site is not the city’s official registration page. The personal information that residents provide is not being shared with city government and the website is not affiliated with the city.
”The Health Department has access to data on patients who have been vaccinated but we don’t have access to information on people who have gone to that site and registered,” Farley said.
The city’s own registration site will allow individuals and organizations that employ essential workers to sign up to be notified when they become eligible for the vaccine. Farley said it could take weeks or months for people to receive notification through that website, due to the low number of vaccine doses shipped to the city each week.
A city Health Department spokesperson said that officials hope to eventually work with organizations such as Philly Fighting COVID to integrate their database with the city’s own registration system.
Meanwhile, Farley said residents who are now eligible for the vaccine due to their job, age, or health condition, should hear from their doctors or employers for scheduling.
”We do think that most people who become eligible will become notified through these other mechanisms we have — through lists with health care providers or through their employers,” Farley said.
The Department of Health says there’s no harm in registering with both the city and Philly Fighting COVID. If you’ve already registered through PFC, you’re encouraged to also register with the city’s website once it goes live.