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Philadelphia Probes Vaccination Site Awarded To Student, 22

Matt Rourke
Andrei Doroshin speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.

City officials in Philadelphia promised Monday to improve the vetting of groups hired to administer COVID-19 vaccinations after it closed a convention center site run by a 22-year-old graduate student.

At least two investigations are under way into how the city health department gave the no-contract work to Andrei Doroshin, a Drexel University student with almost no public health experience.

City Council plans a hearing Friday. Council President Darrell Clarke wants to require the city to sign written contracts with vaccine partners given what he called the embarrassment and mistrust that ensued. The city's Office of Inspector General is meanwhile examining whether Dr. Caroline Johnson, an acting deputy in the health department, unfairly gave Doroshin's group and another potential applicant budget information that was not made public.

Johnson, an infectious disease specialist, resigned over the weekend. Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday praised her prior work for the city but said "we're going to trip up occasionally” as the city responds to the pandemic.

City Council plans a hearing Friday on the work awarded to Doroshin's group, Philly Fighting Covid, which distributed nearly 7,000 vaccines this month before the city shut it down amid questions about its competency and patient privacy policy.

“It was clear that this was a hookup. Why was this not in writing?” Council Member Cindy Bass asked at a virtual press conference Monday afternoon.

Doroshin has insisted he did nothing wrong, though he concedes he took home four doses of the hard-to-get vaccine and administered it to friends.

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