Philadelphia set up its first and largest coronavirus vaccination site. With some notable medical institutions, Philly officials chose volunteers from Philly Fighting COVID. The volunteers described themselves as a “group of college kids” who had little health-care experience.

Obviously, the result was not good. It was a DISASTER.

Seniors found that their appointment and signup forms got lost and would not be honored. Some of them even left in tears. Originally, it was a group of volunteers, but it switched to a for-profit model without noting the change and added a privacy policy that would allow the organization to sell users’ personal data. According to the Washington Post, a 22-year-old allegedly pocketed vaccine doses, while another volunteer described the site as a “free-for-all” on social media. A source said a bunch of unsupervised 18- and 19-year-olds vaccinated one another and took selfies while doing it.  The city has since cut ties with the organization and prosecutors are looking into allegations.

Philly Fighting COVID issued a partial apology on Tuesday, but defended the for-profit switch. The CEO Andrei Doroshin has denied claims that he helped himself to leftover vaccines according to Philadelphia Magazine.

The organization was just covered on NBC’s “Today” when Doroshin, a graduate student at Drexel University, helped organize the use of the 3-D printer to make face shields for healthcare workers. Philadelphia Magazine said that the nonprofit “mostly consisted of a meme-heavy Twitter account, minor community lobbying and a fundraiser with a $50,000 goal that netted $684.” They also noted that anyone in the group’s “executive team” did not have any medical degrees.

According to the Washington Post, WHYY has mentioned that one former volunteer said the executives were “bragging about how rich they were going to get.”

Again, the city has cut ties from Philly Fighting COVID in both vaccines sites and testing sites.


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