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Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Kensington, plus answers to your FAQs

A Philly resident recieves a COVID-19 vaccine at The City of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit in Kensington, on October 28th, 2021. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Aug. 3, 2021, and updated on May 27, 2022.

Philadelphia’s COVID-19 cases have increased due to the omicron subvariant BA.2. Public health officials stress that the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted hasn’t gone away.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Community Level is medium (ranges from low, medium, or high) based on new cases, new hospitalizations, and hospital staff capacity.

As of May 18 and 23, respectively, there were 142 people in Philadelphia hospitals with COVID-19 and the average number of new cases per day was 400. Click here to view the CDC’s prevention measures based on COVID-19 Community Levels.

As of May 23, 2022, 77.5% of Philadelphians ages 18 and up have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 95% have received at least one dose, which puts them at less risk for contracting and getting critically ill from the virus compared to fully unvaccinated people. 

During the rise of the Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants, fully vaccinated adults with a booster shot had a higher level of protection against infection and death, especially older adults, according to the CDC. 

Still, only 34.6% of city residents ages 18 and up have been fully vaccinated and boosted as well as 33% of those 12 and older.

Read more: Still unsure about the COVID-19 vaccine? Hear what your neighbors & local health workers have to say 

Meanwhile, children and youth are less vaccinated than adults, with 76.6% of those 12 and older being fully vaccinated and 94.1% having received at least one dose. Among children between the ages of 5-11, 29.5% have been fully vaccinated and 36.6% have received at least one dose.

covid vaccine kensington
Norris Square Community Alliance partnered with Rite Aid to administer COVID-19 Vaccines at Norris Square on April 23, 2021. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

If you have not received your first two doses or booster yet, multiple places and opportunities exist for you to get one. Below, Kensington Voice has compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccine and neighborhood vaccination sites.

Read more: COVID-19 updates: Masks, omicron subvariant BA.2, and a slow rise in cases

Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

covid vaccine kensington
The entrance of the Norris Square Community Alliance COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on N. Mascher St. in Kensington. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Am I eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Philadelphia?

Yes, depending on your age. The CDC has recently updated vaccine guidelines, so anyone who is at least 5 years old is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Among the three vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for people who are 5 years old and up. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people who are 18 years old and up. According to the CDC, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be given in some situations; Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are preferred in most situations.

Why should I get vaccinated?

Even just one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine minimizes an individual’s risk of infection and hospitalization from severe COVID-related illness. 

Why is it possible for me to still be infected with COVID-19 and possibly have symptoms, even if I’m vaccinated? 

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing most infections and severe illnesses, but like other vaccines, they’re not 100% effective. Still, the latest research has shown being vaccinated can provide two benefits, according to the City’s health department.

First, you are much less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications if you are vaccinated. According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, 82% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state from Jan. 1, 2021, to April 11, 2022, were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people. 

Second, being vaccinated can significantly reduce your chances of having severe symptoms of COVID-19. 

I already got one dose of the vaccine, so why do I need another one? 

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to be fully effective. Also, you can’t receive a booster unless you’re fully vaccinated.  

Ok, so when can I get my second dose? 

It depends on your vaccine brand, according to the CDC. Those who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine must wait three weeks for a second dose. The Moderna vaccine’s wait time between doses is four weeks. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one dose.  

If I already got two doses of the vaccine, why do I need a booster? 

Although the COVID-19 vaccine helps build immunity to COVID-19, studies have shown that an individual’s protection from the virus can naturally decrease over time. Therefore, the boosters help to keep people protected for longer. 

Ok, but who is eligible for a booster? 

Booster shots are now available for those who are 12 and older and have received their first (such as Johnson & Johnson) or first two (such as Pfizer and Moderna) vaccine doses. 

So when can I get a booster shot? 

Each COVID-19 vaccine (like Pfizer and Moderna) has different booster shot requirements, so it depends on when you got your vaccine. 

For example, those who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine can get the booster shot five months after receiving their second dose. However, those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get a booster two months after their first dose. 

Which booster shot am I allowed to get?

According to the CDC, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots are preferred in most situations. It doesn’t matter which brand people received for their first (such as Johnson & Johnson) or first two (such as Pfizer and Moderna) doses. The brand of the booster is allowed to be different. 

However, for those who had a severe reaction to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, health professionals might consider the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They also might consider the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those who would remain unvaccinated due to limited access to other brands. 

Will I have to pay for my COVID-19 vaccine?

Maybe.

Who pays for the COVID-19 vaccine then?

According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, if you have insurance, your health care provider will bill your insurance company for your vaccination. That means you won’t have a copay, coinsurance, or deductible for your vaccinations. 

On April 5, a federally funded program reimbursing vaccine providers administering vaccines to uninsured people ended due to a lack of funding. Although a new $10 billion funding deal passed in the Senate, it is significantly smaller than what the Biden administration requested. Some vaccine providers may begin charging uninsured patients for the vaccine due to the diminished federal funding.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am an undocumented immigrant?

Yes.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, everyone is encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of immigration status. Additionally, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have said they will not conduct enforcement operations at or near vaccination sites.

You are not required to provide identification or a social security number at your vaccination appointment, but you may be asked for them (see above section).

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines in another language, click here.

Where can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the Kensington area?

In quite a few places.

There are many vaccination sites at local pharmacies and health centers in Kensington, Fairhill, Harrowgate, Port Richmond, and Fishtown. There are also pop-up vaccination sites and mobile vaccination sites that visit Kensington. To find a location near you, use the interactive Google map below or scroll through our listed options. 

To search for other vaccination sites that aren’t on this list, you can use the federal vaccine finder to search by zip code.

To stay up to date on pop-up and mobile vaccination sites in the neighborhood, follow Kensington Voice on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

covid vaccine kensington
Norris Square Community Alliance partnered with Rite Aid to administer COVID-19 Vaccines at Norris Square on April 23, 2021. When people arrive, they will register at this desk to consent being vaccinated. (Photo by Solmaira Valerio)

Vaccination sites in Kensington and the surrounding neighborhoods

Care Trust Pharmacy
2534 E. Allegheny Ave.

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, call 215-999-7981 for new patients (215-426-0200 for current patients) or visit Care Trust’s website.

Caring Pharmacy
2541 Kensington Ave.

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, call 215-739-9975.

Congreso Health Center
216 W. Somerset St.

Hours: 
Monday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Walk-in appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need assistance scheduling an appointment, please call 267-507-7448.

To schedule an appointment, text ‘VACCINE’ or ‘VACUNA’ to 215-914-3755 or fill out Congreso’s online form, available in English or Spanish.

CVS Pharmacy
2701 Castor Ave.

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, fill out CVS’ online form to find an available location near you.

Esperanza Health Center
861 E. Allegheny Ave.

Hours:
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

The health center provides vaccinations for current patients only. To schedule an appointment, visit the patient portal or call 215-302-3600.

Fishtown Pharmacy
1802 Frankford Ave.

Hours:
Tuesday-Friday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Walk-ins and appointments are accepted. To schedule an appointment, call 267-687-7562 or send an email to fishtownpharmacy@gmail.com.

La Vida Discount Pharmacy
2363 E. Allegheny Ave.

Hours
Thursdays: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, call 215-427-1603 or visit La Vida’s website.

Maria de los Santos Health Center
401 W. Allegheny Ave.

Hours: 
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Walk-in only. Try to arrive early.

The Medicine Shoppe
3025-27 Kensington Ave.

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Walk-ins are preferred. To schedule an appointment, call 215-426-0250.

Rite Aid Pharmacy

Multiple locations

To schedule an appointment, fill out Rite Aid’s online form to find an available location near you.

UrbanCare Pharmacy
169 W. Lehigh Ave.

Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (vaccination hours vary)

Walk-ins and appointments are accepted. To schedule an appointment, call 267-858-4662 or visit UrbanCare’s website.

Walgreens
1809 E. Allegheny Ave.

To schedule an appointment, call 215-426-0956 or visit Walgreen’s website.


Editors: Jillian Bauer-Reese, Zari Tarazona / Designer: Jillian Bauer-Reese

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.

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