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State to receive $16 million in federal COVID relief for vaccinations

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Delaware will receive more money to deliver vaccine doses through the latest round of federal coronavirus relief. 

Delaware expects to get more than $16 million from the CDC to help with vaccine distribution, under the American Rescue Plan, which the President signed into law last month. 

State health officials say the rules for spending the money are still being finalized. But the state will likely use it to run vaccination events—and to educate the public about the safety, efficacy and availability of the vaccine.

State Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik says the funding will help expand the number of smaller vaccination events for people who the centralized, drive-through events don’t reach.

“Without the necessary resources, we are in a position of making choices,” she said. “Like, we can’t maybe pay this overtime, or maybe we don’t set up this clinic site, or maybe we can’t afford to do this. So having more resources allows us, again, to do everything we need to do to make sure that we don’t have Delawareans saying, ‘I didn't get access to the vaccine because I don’t have a car.’”

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester emphasized the importance of communication to the public about why they should get the vaccine. 

“I think one of the biggest components of this is educating people and making sure they understand the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, as well as make sure that myths are dispelled,” she said. “The number one thing that we want to do is get shots in arms.”

So far more than half a million doses of the vaccine have been administered to Delawareans. 

As of Monday, 35% of the state’s population had received at least one dose, and one in five people were fully vaccinated. 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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