Deputy Health Commissioner Johnson resigns amid Philly Fighting COVID controversy


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — KYW Newsradio has learned Deputy Health Commissioner Caroline Johnson has resigned from her post, following controversy surrounding the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's now-severed relationship with Philly Fighting COVID.

In a statement to KYW, Health Department spokesman James Garrow acknowledged Johnson communicated about the vaccination proposal process with at least two groups, PFC and the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium.

"These communications were made after the RFP was publicly posted. However, these actions were inappropriate because the information shared was not available to all potential applicants," said Garrow.

Johnson resigned from her post upon discovery of that communication, Garrow continued. "While these actions may have been intended to help advance the City’s vaccine distribution effort, the Health Commissioner has accepted her resignation in the best interest of the city," he detailed.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley has reportedly contacted the city's Inspector General regarding the matter.

This follows a tumultuous week, after the city announced Monday it was ending their contract with Philly Fighting COVID, which had opened mass vaccination clinics in Philadelphia. Officials said they had concerns over the organization's handling of data, their corporate status as a nonprofit, and their handling of vaccines.

PFC's 22-year-old founder, Andrei Doroshin, also admitted this week to taking vaccine doses home to administer to his friends.

Mayor Jim Kenney has called for an investigation, and for the remaining vaccine doses to be distributed to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and other nonprofits. Some elected officials and community leaders have also called for Farley to step down. Farley has, for his part, accepted Johnson's resignation "in the best interest of the city."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio