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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hundreds bear freezing temperatures and snow for their chance at the COVID-19 vaccine

Philadelphians waited hours in the cold to receive their COVID-19 vaccination from the Black Doctors COVID-19 consortium. PHOTOS: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

Hundreds waited in the falling snow for the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium 24-hour “vaxathon” at Temple University’s Liacouras Center on Feb. 19. Philadelphians who reside in areas in the city with the highest rates of COVID-19 and are eligible for the vaccine were able to receive free vaccinations. The organization managed to vaccinate over 4,000 Philadelphians in the 24-hour period. 

From Friday to Saturday, nearly 1,000 Philadelphians lined the sidewalks around the arena to take a step towards ending the coronavirus pandemic.

Steven Oakman (pictured above in the blue jacket), from the Germantown section of Philadelphia, said he arrived around 10 a.m. on Friday. By 2:30 p.m. there were still hundreds in line ahead of him. However, he knew that he had to get the vaccine.

“You come to this and try and take care of yourself, your community [and] your family,” Oakman said.

Temperatures hovered around freezing for most of the day. Some waiting brought chairs, blankets and warm drinks, but many were left to just stand in line, waiting for their turn. 

Sarah Forosiky, a senior at Temple University, was left to deal with the elements. Overall, Forosiky was not happy with the way the event was being organized, but she commended those who decided to deal with the conditions.

“It shows how desperate people are to get past this pandemic,” Forosiky said.

Madelyn Williams ’23 (left) said she was waiting since 11 a.m. to get her vaccine. Like others, she had problems registering for the vaccine, citing supply issues. 

Williams did not have an issue waiting in the cold, but knew those that need it the most, like the elderly, may not be able to wait. 

“The people that are actually going to be left standing here are the ones that probably don’t need it, as much as the people that have had to leave because of health conditions,” Williams said. “That’s definitely a problem, especially with the weather.”

Diane Armstead-Brown (pictured above in the red jacket), from the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, who was in line since 9:30 a.m. on Friday, was getting tired of standing by 3 p.m. Someone told her that they would get her a chair, but she was left standing for at least another hour. 

Armstead-Brown, even though she initially had some apprehensions about the vaccine, knew it was important to receive. However, like Williams, she had problems registering to get the vaccine. 

“[The city] didn’t answer, so when I heard on the news that [Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium] were going to be out here [for 24 hours], I figured I better jump on it,” Armstead-Brown said.

Near the entrance of the arena, Nino Soberon (right) of West Philadelphia handed out snacks, drinks and masks to those waiting in line. Soberon said he recently moved to Philadelphia and wanted to connect with his community more.

“I feel really lucky to be part of a community that’s cooperating with each other,” Soberon said. “It’s an unprecedented time, so there’s a lot of civility going on.”

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