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State announces delay of COVID vaccine rollout, focuses on second dose delivery

Daniel Schludi / Unsplash

State health officials are pushing to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to those who need it later this week.


Gov. John Carney announced registrations will begin later this week for second doses at sites across the state, including at the Dover International Speedway, the Chase Center in Wilmington and Delaware Tech campuses.


This comes after the state lengthened its recommended timeline on receiving the second dose to 28 to 35 days after the first.


“So the events that we are announcing today ensure that anyone who participated in our larger events has access to a second dose at a very appropriate time,” said State Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.



Each site is catering to a specific subset of people who received their first dose.


The state plans to open registration later this week for second dose appointments for 3,800 people who received their first dose at the Dover DMV on January 16, 17 or 18 or Salesianum School on January 18. This second dose events will happen February 15-19 at Delaware Tech's campuses in Georgetown, Dover, and Wilmington with Curative managing them.


It also is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to stand up a multiple day vaccination site at Dover International Speedway.  That is expected to be up and running as early as February 20, and focus on vaccinating people who received their first dose at the Dover DMV January 16-18; Salesianum School on January 18; at the Delaware City DMV January 22-24; or at the Georgetown DMV January 23-24.   The timing of this vaccination site is not set and contingent on FEMA approval of Delaware's request.


The Division of Public Health's Community Health Services Section is partnering with community organizations to deliver second doses to low-income seniors who received their first dose at Salesianum School on January 18 and may have mobility challenges or other barriers preventing them from attending a large event.


Those who received a first dose at the Chase Center will also have an opportunity to register for their second dose, bit that registration is not opening yet.


Most people who were already vaccinated should receive an email to sign up for their next appointment.


State officials say more than 10 percent of Delawareans have received the first shot, putting the state among the top states in vaccine distribution per capita, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


But Carney says Delaware is still not getting enough vaccine from the federal government.


“As we use some of that supply to make sure we get those second doses out, the number of doses we get from the federal government for first doses is going to decline--kind of by definition--unless that supply increases, basically doubles, in order to meet the demand for second doses,” said Carney. 


Those supply limitations are prompting the state to delay distribution of the vaccine to phase 1C individuals from the planned start of March 1st.


Phase 1C includes all other essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions and those living in close quarters, such as prisoners.


The Division of Public Health adds it plans to prioritize the most vulnerable group 1C members before vaccinating others, as soon as they can get enough of the vaccine to do so.


Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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