Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been scams to separate Americans from their stimulus checks, fraudulent operations to sell useless personal protective equipment, and fake COVID testing sites and labs set up to siphon off government funding. Now, the city of Philadelphia has exposed the nation — and some of its most vulnerable elderly residents — to the first alleged vaccine grift of the coronavirus era.
As other young men throughout the country swindled hedge funds by investing in video game retail, WHYY and Philadelphia Magazine report that a self-described “group of college kids” under the name of Philly Fighting COVID gained access to thousands of vaccine doses and boasted about the money they were going to make. After turning away dozens of seniors this weekend because they botched the sign-up process, the group reportedly took doses home with them.
The project began with Andrei Doroshin, a 22-year-old Drexel student and serial entrepreneur whose organization found apparent success running pop-up testing sites around Philadelphia this summer — and giving out 7,000 shots in early January, representing 8 percent of the city’s first tranche of doses. “We took the entire model and just threw it out the window,” Doroshin told the Today show earlier this month. “We think a little differently than people in health-care do.”
But when PFC set up a vaccination site for seniors last weekend, WHYY reports that the event resulted in a disaster:
Some had waited hours by the time Philly Fighting COVID, the start-up administering vaccines on behalf of the city, began turning people away. The 9-month-old group had bungled a sign-up page that allowed dozens of people to make appointments online. On arrival, many learned the clinic was overbooked.
“There were literally 85-year-old, 90-year-old people standing there in tears, with printed appointment confirmations, saying, ‘I don’t understand why I can’t get vaccinated, I’m 85,’” said Jillian Horn, a Callowhill resident who tried to get inoculated this weekend.
A witness alleges that come nightfall, there were still vaccines left over — despite PFC workers having turned people away.
After the city delivered Philly Fighting Covid thousands of vaccine vials, WHYY reports that 18- and 19-year-olds were posing for pictures as they gave each other vaccine shots. A registered nurse who volunteered with the group alleged that Doroshin took doses for a personal stash after turning away seniors last Saturday. That night, he was reportedly seen on social media preparing to administer a syringe in a private residence.
As of Monday, Philly Fighting COVID was removed from the city’s vaccination program.
Doroshin has disputed many of these allegations, but the prospect of a young serial entrepreneur with a propped-up résumé holding an event in which attendees don’t get what they signed up for brings to mind another notable failure in the history of American events: Fyre Festival. Unlike Billy McFarland’s disastrous weekend in the sun, the victims here are not youthful targets of schadenfreude, but elderly people in a pandemic in which Americans over 75 account for almost half of all COVID deaths.
Also unlike the privately-funded 2017 concert in the Bahamas, the backers of Philly Fighting COVID bear much more responsibility for their unsound investment. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that at a November city council meeting about vaccine distribution in which Doroshin spoke, no one asked him about the public-health bonafides of his organization. (None of the group’s “executive team” members hold a medical degree or graduate degree in public health.)
Several council members are now calling for an investigation into why the city entrusted a 22-year-old with thousands of vaccine doses, and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has asked residents with any knowledge of potential criminal activity to come forward. And while Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said there were no warning signs of the impending mess — and that there were no other choices for a mass vaccination partner — WHYY reported that Penn Medicine offered “to ramp up community vaccination efforts as far back as November,” before the city began its non-contractual agreement with Doroshin’s firm.
The city of Philadelphia choosing to vaccinate residents under the guidance of a college student rather than an Ivy-league medical school is a scandal in its own right. But across the United States over the last two months, the vaccination effort has been hampered by total federal incompetence, as hospitals report shortages of vaccines and states await the ramp-up promised by the Biden administration. Ten months into the pandemic, navigating a public-health system that was gutted decades ago, a major American city was duped by a young man whose résumé points include making videos of his friends doing parkour. We still have no idea what we are doing.
- Covid Vaccine Rollout: States across India receive first consignments of 'Covishield'
- Biden's new CDC director says they're going to bring in military and medical students to ramp up vaccine rollout: Woeful vaccination program sees just 4.5% of Americans receiving their shot - compared to nearly 30% in Israel
- Boris Johnson 'clashed with NHS chiefs over excessive bureaucracy slowing down vaccine rollout' and vows to test 24-hour hubs - as it's revealed 2.4million have had jab at rate of 165,000-a-day
- Investors bet on a rapid vaccine rollout. That's now at risk
- Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Rollout To Expand Globally Despite Western Media Claims, RDIF Chief Says
- Lending Hands: Big Tech Pulls Strings as US Pushes Mass COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
- India embarks on one of the world's most ambitious vaccine rollouts after emergency use approval
- Old people DON’T want a 24-7 vaccine rollout, management consultants brought in to deliver the jabs warn ministers
- A 'Favourable Narrative' for Biden? CNN Ripped for Claims Trump Had No Vaccine Rollout Strategy
- What Is Causing California’s Slow Vaccine Rollout?
- COVID: SF Supes Hopeful Biden Administration Will Address Chaotic Vaccine Rollout
- Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Acknowledges Mistakes With COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout: ‘We Can’t Control Every Dose’
- Has Britain's great Covid vaccine rollout ALREADY stalled? Daily figures drop for third day in a row as critics tell No10 to 'throw as much money as possible' at NHS to ensure jab uptake stays high
- Slow vaccine rollout could make lockdown last PAST Easter as Priti Patel blames AstraZeneca and Pfizer for causing 'supply issues' by 'upgrading their factories' - even though '21m doses are already in UK' and Scotland is 'sitting on 400k'
- Covid-19 vaccine rollout: How India Inc is gearing up to immunise its employees
- Patients Count on ‘Connections’ in Georgia’s Mess of a Vaccine Rollout
- 51% of Biden Voters Say Vaccine Rollout Is Slower Than They Expected
- HHS Secretary Alex Azar Calls Governors' Vaccine Rollout Criticism 'Completely Misleading'
The Fyre Festival of Vaccine Rollouts have 1304 words, post on nymag.com at January 28, 2021. This is cached page on Auto News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.