State health officials are preparing for the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Delaware is beginning to receive shipments of the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to administer to the first people who received the shot 2 weeks ago.
The state is looking forward to the next phase of the rollout, targeting frontline essential workers and those aged 65 and older.
Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay defines what a frontline essential worker is.
“So for frontline essential workers we’re essentially looking at those who interact with the public, those who are close to the public, who are most exposed — or those who have a difficult time social distancing or both.”
The list includes teachers, agriculture and manufacturing, correctional workers, postal service workers, public transit employees and grocery store workers.
Rattay says not everyone on this list may be first in line to get a vaccine, such as family farmers who don’t work near anybody else.
Rattay says the CDC recommendation for the next phase was to vaccinate those age 75 and older, but her team noticed that would lead to an equity issue in the state.
“When we looked at our own death data from COVID, the average age for white individuals was 83, but for Black Delawareans it was 74 and for hispanic Delawareans it was 66. And so we were very concerned that we would miss getting to protect some of our most vulnerable populations.”
Rattay says the next phase of vaccines probably won’t be rolling out until mid to late January, but it’s important that these guidelines are released now to get people prepared.
She says businesses with essential workers should be starting to prepare their plans to get workers vaccinated by coordinating with the state.
The state has a survey to help with this coordination effort on their coronavirus vaccine website for businesses to fill out.