Philadelphia Department of Public Health Ends Vaccine Distribution Agreement Due to Alleged Privacy Breaches

The contract of Philly Fighting COVID to dispense COVID-19 vaccines in Philadelphia city with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health was terminated because of allegations that the company’s privacy policies possibly made possible the sale of private information to third parties.

Philly Fighting COVID started out as a nonprofit company providing coronavirus screening and then switched to supplying COVID-19 vaccinations. The startup firm won the project to manage the first local vaccine clinic of Philadelphia which the Department for Public Health started on January 8, 2021.

Philly Fighting COVID made a site where Philadelphians can pre-register for the vaccines. Details including names, contact data, birth date, zip code, and other details had to be given. The data was intended to be submitted to the Health Department and employed for enhancing vaccination efforts, for instance determining the best places to make available more vaccine clinics. Over 60,000 people utilized the website and signed up for the vaccine.

After operating COVID-19 testing centers, Philly Fighting COVID changed its focus to offering vaccinations. The vaccine clinic commenced supplying vaccines and over 6,800 people got their first shot at the center, about 33 % of whom were healthcare staff.

In December 2020, Philly Fighting COVID built a for-profit organization and then modified its company standing, a privacy policy was loaded to its web page, the text for which suggested data gathered by means of the site can be bought by third parties.

Philly Fighting COVID at the same time shortly stopped giving vaccinations and had refused seniors who appeared for appointments and had lined up for a long time. Philly Fighting COVID said this was a result of a mistake on the webpage that permitted way too many persons to reserve visits.

Philly Fighting COVID was accorded the vaccine supplier agreement as a non-profit. The Department of Public Health claimed it did not get any notification regarding any alteration in privacy policies that may probably have granted the sale of personal information.

Because of the mentioned problems, coupled with PFC’s sudden cessation of testing services, the Health Department has opted to discontinue delivering vaccines to PFC.

Issues were in addition brought up regarding how Philly Fighting COVID was managing the vaccine procedure, with various unpleasant accusations made versus the organization. Particularly, one nurse volunteer at the clinic claimed on Twitter that PFC didn’t ask her to give any medical qualifications when she applied for a job and maintained that the CEO obtained a number of the vaccines.

CEO Andrei Doroshin of Philly Fighting COVID mentioned on the webpage about the language problem in its privacy policy. The instant PFC knew about it, the wordings were taken out|corrected}. PFC apologizes for the oversight in its privacy policy. It is not the company’s intent to sell, disclose, or pass any data obtained as it breaks the HIPAA rules.

Doroshin also confessed to taking a number of the vaccine doses and giving them to friends. He apologized saying it was his error in judgment and not the company.

The Philadelphia District Lawyer Larry Krasner has started an investigation of Philly Fighting COVID concerning the misrepresentation of its for-profit state and the claimed mishandling of COVID-19 shots. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is considering reopening the clinic as soon as it confirms a new company.

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Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a news reporter specializing in information technology cyber security. Mark has contributed to leading publications and spoken at international forums with a focus on cybersecurity threats and the importance of data privacy. Mark is a computer science graduate.