Delaware's inoculations of front line health care workers for COVID-19 are now underway.
Elisabeth Cole, a progressive care unit nurse at Bayhealth, was the first in Delaware to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine Tuesday.
975 doses arrived at Bayhealth Monday, more are expected to arrive in the state Wednesday followed by weekly shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Bayhealth’s Medical Director for Emergency Services Kelly Abbrescia runs three emergency departments and says she’s been waiting for the vaccine.
“Honestly I really think this is a miracle that we had it this fast, because everyone in health care is exhausted," said Abbrescia. "We are exhausted, and the only light at the end of tunnel is this vaccine to stop this virus.”
State Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay assures Delawareans the vaccine is safe with minimal side effects despite how quickly it was approved and released.
“Bottom line is the effectiveness of this vaccine far exceeds our expectations—94 percent effective. And it is safe. It is well tolerated," said Rattay. "I get that there may be skeptics, but I think what we’re hearing is most people are excited and want this vaccine.”
Gov. John Carney says he will let public health officials decide the vaccine priority and determine when he should be inoculated.
“There is a role for me in setting an example, and if that’s appropriate at a particular time then I will do that," said Carney. "I think we need to get some experience with how receptive folks are being to the virus. I’m certainly not going to jump in line in front of healthcare workers or hospital providers.”
Delaware’s plan for vaccine distribution starts with frontline health care workers, county EMS agencies and long-term care staff and residents.
Early next year, those in high-risk and critical infrastructure industries such as food processing, utilities, education, police and fire will receive doses - along with people in congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters, with certain underlying health conditions, and age 65 older.
Moderate risk groups should get doses starting in March. It is expected to reach the general public by summer.