City Councilman Bobby Henon saw the demand for the coronavirus vaccine.
“We were getting calls on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.
One of the obstacles his constituents were facing was a lack of a local site to get the vaccine.
“The Northeast didn’t have a site,” he said, adding that the area is home to a high percentage of senior citizens.
A Henon staffer was recently at the Acme pharmacy at 8200 Roosevelt Blvd., and that led to a mutually beneficial partnership that paid off for local residents in the city’s 1A and 1B phases.
Last Wednesday, Henon and Acme officials welcomed 412 people to receive the Pfizer vaccine at Cannstatter’s. Those 412 people will be back on March 31 to receive their second dose of the vaccine.
“We can do this five times over today,” Henon said of the demand.
The people who received the first vaccine on March 10 were a mixture of people who called or visited Henon’s office or whose family members reached out. For seniors without email, staff members registered them with the city to receive the vaccine. Henon’s office was even open on Presidents’ Day, when 40 people received appointments.
March 10 was a nice day, and people waited outside until being called inside at the time of their appointment.
People registered at tables staffed by Henon employees and Acme workers, received the vaccine in their choice of either arm and were able to leave after 15 minutes in the Cannstatter’s ballroom, where they were treated to snacks and water.
Meanwhile, Henon said reported possible vaccine sites at the FOP and Plumbers union hall were never serious. Instead, he has been working with the mayor and health commissioner for the last couple of months to establish a weekly distribution site at Cannstatter’s. That site, at 9130 Academy Road, will open sometime next week.
“That was my focus, that Northeast Philly not be left behind,” he said. “The Northeast is not being forgotten.”
The councilman believes that last week’s event, coupled with the second dose on March 31 and the pending weekly distribution, will help lead to herd immunity. He is looking forward to a time when fewer people are infected by the virus, families can be reunited and the economy grows.
As for last week’s distribution, people were ecstatic they didn’t have to take public transportation or drive to Center City and pay for parking to get the vaccine.
“I want to thank you so much. I really do appreciate it,” a Delaire Landing resident named Susan told Henon.
Henon has developed relationships with vaccine providers and welcomes calls or visits to his office at 6730 Torresdale Ave. (215-686-3444). Or, they can sign up at https://buff.ly/3sYBXV4.
Providers include Rapoport Pharmacy, 6934 Bustleton Ave.; Deluxe Pharmacy, 8749 Frankford Ave.; and Rite Aid, Acme, Walgreens and CVS.
Jennifer Welch, a divisional pharmacy manager at Acme/Savon, was happy to accommodate vaccine recipients.
“To come into their community is a great opportunity,” she said. “We brought the vaccine to the people.” ••