COVID vaccine now available to seniors, teachers, other frontline workers in First State
Delawareans over age 65 and others in phase 1B of the state’s vaccine rollout will soon be able to receive vaccinations.
The state announced Tuesday it is moving to the next phase of its vaccine rollout, opening up access to those 65 and over as well as frontline essential workers including teachers, police, U.S. postal workers, transportation workers and grocery store employees. The state will continue vaccinating those in phase 1A, which included health care personnel and nursing home staff and residents.
“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable Delawareans from COVID-19,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement Tuesday, hours after being sworn in to a second term. “Our goal is to get as many Delawareans vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible. That’s how we’ll beat this virus, get back to normal, and rebuild. The reality is that will take some time and some patience, so in the meantime, let’s do what works. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Avoid gatherings. Stay vigilant.”
More than 200,000 individuals are eligible to be vaccinated in phase 1B, according to state officials.
The state has scheduled five large drive-through vaccination events for this group, beginning with one Friday, January 22 at the Delaware City Division of Motor Vehicles. Saturday and Sunday, January 23 and 24, events will be held at both the Delaware City and Georgetown DMV locations.
The vaccination events are by appointment only. Delawareans age 65 or older can register online beginning Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. There will be other vaccination options specific to K-12 educators, child care workers, correctional officers and other essential workers. The state plans to expand vaccination options, including through pharmacies and primary care providers, in the coming weeks.
Delaware does not currently have enough doses of the vaccine to cover all those who qualify under phase 1B. To date the state has received 77,600 doses of the vaccine, and has administered more than 46,000. Just over 31,400 doses remain.
The state Division of Public Health notes it expects more requests for appointments than doses and slots available for the foreseeable future. It says sending invitations to schedule appointments will occur based on age, medical condition and other risk factors.
“We are excited to be able to move into this next phase of vaccinating Delawareans but must ask for patience as everyone in this group simply cannot be vaccinated in a matter of days,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Div. of Public Health, in a statement. “With limited resources, there will be some attention within Phase 1B based on the risk factors we know, and the focus will be – especially in the first large vaccination events – on those 65 and over.”
The state held several drive-through vaccination events over the holiday weekend for individuals qualifying under phase 1A, but some outside of this group received vaccinations. The state then began a “soft launch” vaccinating seniors in Wilmington Monday.
Those receiving the vaccine should continue to take precautions to prevent spread of the virus, even after being vaccinated. Necessary precautions include wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, avoiding hosting or attending large gatherings, and washing and sanitizing hands frequently.
This story has been updated.