“Drive Through” Vaccinations for SW Residents

The Covid-19 vaccination team at the Mercy Wellness Center on Island Avenue on March 20 at which 356 eligible area residents received their first dose of vaccine.  The group includes medical and nursing staff from Mercy Catholic Medical Center and LaSalle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Great teamwork by Mercy Catholic Medical & LaSalle University Nursing

By Ted Behr

Mercy Catholic Medical Center – Mercy Fitzgerald Campus provided 356 first doses of the #COVID19 vaccine to Southwest area residents on Saturday, March 20.  Mercy teamed with medical and nursing staff from LaSalle University.  Pastor Eric Simmons and members his Grace Center Church also provided assistance along with Captain Vincent Grant and Sergeant Eric Jackson and volunteers of the Eastwick Bike Patrol.

With extraordinary efficiency, eligible residents drove to the parking lot at the Mercy Wellness Center at 2821 Island Avenue.  Without leaving their cars, they were registered, counseled, vaccinated, and carefully monitored during the prescribed post-injection period, before driving off to their other Saturday activities. 

After all the occupants of a car had received their shots, drivers were directed to carefully distanced parking slots.  Every few minutes a friendly nurse would monitor those vaccinated with a friendly, “How are you doing now?”

Dr. Sharon K Carney, Chief Clinical Officer at Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic who coordinated the medical activities at the event stressed the value of reaching directly into the neighborhoods where large numbers of the most vulnerable residents lived.  She noted that individuals who received their first dose on Saturday will also have the opportunity to return for a second dose in several weeks.

“We’re committed to the fight against COVID-19 in our neighborhoods,” said Chris Cullom, president of Mercy Catholic Medical Center. “We want to make the vaccine as accessible as possible to the Southwest Philadelphia community.”

(Members of the dedicated team from Mercy Catholic Medical Center led by Dr. Sharon K Carney, Chief Clinical Officer at Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic (right). They organized the drive-through vaccination which allowed residents to remain in the safety of their cars during the entire process.


The Need for Pandemic Safety is Still Strongly Recommended

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of March 23, Philadelphia remains in the “very high risk” category for Covid-19.   They advise that residents should continue to lower personals risk of getting Covid-19 and protect their community. 

For unvaccinated individuals, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and its partners stress that where households include older or risk persons, extra precautions should be taken.

For persons fully vaccinated, the CDC suggests the risk of getting sick is much lower, but it may still be possible to transmit Covid-19 to others.

Indoor activities are very dangerous right now and nonessential travel should be avoided.  Also, stay away from indoor events with more than a handful of people (outdoor activities are a good substitute.  Protection at work and school is important and if indicated, get medical care promptly.

Philadelphia Remains at a “Very High Risk” Covid-19 Level

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,  Philadelphia County is at a “very high risk” level based on an average of 22 daily cases per 100,000 people reported in the past two weeks. (That risk would need to decrease to 11.4 cases per 100,000 people for the next lower designation of “high risk” to be reached – and assuming the test positivity stays low.

The trend in deaths tends to lag weeks behind the trend in reported cases: Cases have recently increased in Philadelphia, which could mean a rise in deaths will follow.

Nearby counties are also at a very high-risk level. Cases have increased recently in Camden; Burlington; and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey.

An average of 82 percent of I.C.U. beds were occupied in the area as of March 18

Nationwide, as of mid-March, the number of cases stood at 55,000, down 8 percent from the beginning of the year but now on an upward trend.  Daily deaths were at 650, down 35 percent from January and hospitalizations were at 38,565, down 17 percent. 

Providing able assistance for the complicated drive-through vaccination process were Capt. Vincent Grant and Sgt. Eric Jackson of the Eastwick Bike Patrol

(Information for the above articles was obtained from a March 23 releases from the Johns Hopkins University and the Center for Disease Control provided by the New York Times.)

(Photos were provided through the kindness of Zach Raczka of AKCG – Public Relations Counselors)

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