Vaccine site personnel were authorized to call some people over 65 to get shots, and that allowed some uninvited people to be vaccinated.
Delaware Senate President Dave Sokola was among those to be vaccinated on Friday at Mill Creek Fire Hall in Wilmington.
Sokola’s wife and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long were on-site administering the vaccines when Sokola says he received a call from Hall Long to come down after it was evident they’d have extra doses following a cancellation from a large healthcare group.
“I am by the way 65,” said Sokola, D-Newark. “I know that when Lt. Governor Hall Long calls people, because she gets information that there’s going to be openings, she calls people who she knows are going to be in 1b. And I know others that she’s called by the way, but I won’t tell their names.”
On Friday, the State of Delaware was only supposed to be administering vaccinations to those who fell into the 1a phase, which includes health care personnel with direct patient contact and care, emergency medical services agencies, and long-term care staff and residents.
“The reality is they want to use up the shots,” Sokola said Monday. “I was told when my wife got home later that night that they used all the shots. No first responder did not get a shot. It was by in large a very successful event.”
Sokola said he has already signed up to be a volunteer to assist with vaccinating in the next phase.
A spokesman for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and spokeswoman for the Delaware Division of Public Health said Monday that some people have been invited by public health and DEMA to come to vaccination sites as part of trail runs to set up logistics for the general public. That included groups of senior citizens invited to attend a vaccination event Monday at Salesianum School.
But when people showed up to events over the weekend who were not invited, state workers had no way of knowing or proving who was invited or not, so people were vaccinated, the spokesmen said.
The state does not have a policy that allows elected officials any priority.
“There is no policy about vaccinating elected officials specifically,” explained Jen Brestel, chief of community relations for Public Health. “They are treated as members of the public and would be vaccinated in accordance with phases.”
The state will announce today that it’s opening vaccinations for 1b, several government sources said.
And the state has been working on an online system that will allow people to register for a specific time and place, which will cut down confusion and make sure that only people who are supposed to be in line for vaccines will be, said the DPH spokesoman.
1b includes senior citizens age 65 and older, as well as those considered front-line essential workers including police, fire, teachers, child care providers, food processing workers, correctional officers, postal service personnel, public transit and grocery workers.
Not everyone in the 1b phase will be able to be vaccinated at once due to limited supply of vaccine.