The Delaware Division of Public Health was crowing Wednesday about a successful launch of its new system that allows older people to request appointments at COVID-19 mass vaccination events.
It also offered more information about how invitations to attend a vaccine event will be sent and how they should be handled.
With the state opening up vaccinations to the phase 1B, it asked those 65 and older to make appointments to avoid chaos at the vaccine sites.
While the 1B category includes more groups, state health officials said they wanted to focus first on the people who are at higher risk for cases of COVID-19 that can be severe or fatal.
As of 4 p.m., more than 56,000 requests had been successfully submitted. the state said. The system officially opened at 8:30 a.m.
To register online, go to https://vaccinerequest.delaware.gov/s/?language=en_US or call 1-833-643-1715.
Those who register are not guaranteed an immediate invitation to attend a vaccine event to get a shot. The state plans to triage the applications by age and underlying conditions, to make sure the most fragile are the first to get the shots.
If a registrant is chosen, they will get an email or call inviting them to come. The state asks that people respond yes or no quickly so it can fill all its available slots.
The arrangement means that family members such as husbands and wives may not be vaccinated at the same time.
Because the state is getting 15,000 to 20,000 doses of vaccine a week, it could be weeks to months before the entire 200,000 people in the 65-and-older category are vaccinated. The state will also be winding up the 1A category of healthcare workers and first responders.
DPH drive-thru vaccination events to be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Delaware City and Georgetown will be the first chance for the registered people to be vaccinated.
Some notes on today’s launch:
- 56,276 requests total between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., with the first 33,000 requests by 10 a.m.
- About 27,000 requests were from New Castle County, 24,000 were from Sussex County and 5,200 were from Kent County.
- The COVID-19 website was slow loading for some users this morning because of high traffic, but the website and registration were operational at all times.
- Staffing at the call center was increased to handle additional call volume today. While wait times at the call center to speak to an operator were higher this morning, wait times were down to 4 minutes by early afternoon.
The request system generated a confirmation email that the request had been submitted. Some individuals reported that their email provider sent those to spam folders, so individuals who did not get a confirmation email may want to check their spam folder.
After this report was initially received, developers made adjustments to settings to reduce the chance the message would be marked as spam.
“We are really proud of the way the request system worked today,’ said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “Now that we have requests from so many, we can begin through a process of getting them vaccinated.”
She said that even if people have registered and they get a chance to take a vaccine through a medical provider, work place or pharmacy, “they should take it … We are building a system with multiple paths to get vaccinated, and this requests system is a part of it.”[adrotate group=”11
Vaccines available through pharmacies are currently only for persons 65 and older, and are more likely to be available to Phase 1B essential workers in the coming weeks.
Email invitations to create an account and schedule an appointment will come from VAMS, the Vaccine Administration Management System created by the Centers for Disease Control for use in multiple states.
It will contain an individualized link and instructions. Because it is a national product used in previous phases, the emails may say. “Your organization or employer designated you in a priority group for vaccination” even though people submitted their own requests.
As of midnight Tuesday, Jan. 19, the state and its partners had administered 49,873 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.