Delaware rolls out Pfizer booster shots for eligible people
Days after the FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster shots for certain high-risk people and hours after the CDC Director unexpectedly included frontline workers in the recommendation, the state of Delaware is rolling boosters out.
The Division of Public Health directed vaccine providers Friday to give boosters to long-term care residents, those over 65, many with underlying medical conditions and many frontline workers who got their second Pfizer dose at least six months ago.
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the state Division of Public Health, says the state has seen waning immunity among some populations.
“By far what we’re seeing in the data is those age 65 and older,” she said. “And so it’s really important that our Delaware seniors, whether they’re in a long-term care facility or in any setting, that they’re the first to voluntarily step up and find their booster vaccine.”
“It doesn’t have to be urgent,” she added.
Rattay says many fatal breakthrough cases in Delaware have had chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
The Division of Public Health has heard from long-term care facilities that they’re ready to roll out boosters, either by distributing them themselves or partnering with pharmacies. The state does not plan to hold any mass vaccination events for the boosters, but recommends people go to pharmacies, their doctors, health centers and clinics.
Rattay says the state has enough doses to vaccinate everyone who’s eligible for these boosters—but hopes people younger than 65 will wait a bit.
“There’s a lot of Pfizer vaccine in the state with a large variety of providers,” she said. “It’s not so much the amount of vaccine that’s a problem, it’s just that not everybody can go all at once.”
Rattay says the state’s highest priority is still administering first doses to those that have not yet gotten vaccinated at all. Just under 70% of Delawareans age 12 and up have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.
“We are not where we need to be yet,” Rattay said. “Primary vaccination is really critical. It is really key to us turning the corner on this pandemic.”
COVID hospitalizations in Delaware and the percent of people testing positive are both trending down slightly over the last two weeks. Rattay says it’s too soon to say whether the Delta surge is levelling off in Delaware, but that she’s cautiously optimistic.
“It certainly is better than we feared a few weeks ago when we were seeing these steep increases,” she said. “Things do feel to be levelling off, but we’re just going to have to hold tight.”