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People must wait for second dose of COVID vaccine as state expands chances to get first shots

Vault Health will give shots to underserved seniors in Wilmington; testing giant Curative will begin giving vaccine; and hospitals and pharamacies will vaccinate seniors.

 

Linda Brennan Jones and her husband, Tom, sat in line 7 hours before they got this close to vaccine shots.
Linda Brennan Jones and her husband, Tom, waited in line more than 7 hours before they got his vaccine.

 

With 11,000 people —  mostly older with underlying health conditions — vaccinated over the weekend in chaotic mass inoculation events, the state is partnering with others to get more vaccine out.

But all this means those who had the first shot of vaccine may have to wait longer than anticipated for the second as the state seeks to put vaccine in as many arms as possible amid talk of more infectious strains circulating in the country.

“Due to limited vaccine supply, the state’s efforts will focus primarily on administering first doses to eligible individuals,” said a state press release Monday night. “As supply allows, the state will prioritize second doses for 1A individuals at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

The release did not say how long the wait could be.

Carney’s usually Tuesday COVID-19 press conference will not take place Tuesday because he’s going to give his State of the Union speech at 2 p.m. online. He and Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, will have a virtual town hall Tuesday at 6 p.m. at  livestream.com/stateofdelaware.

Carney and public health on Monday announced a lot of new partnerships after mass vaccination events Saturday ended up with seniors sitting in their cars for hours waiting to get shots.

 

Linda Brennan-Jones and her husband, Tom, a diabetic, left their New Castle house at 11:30 a.m. for a 12:30 p.m. appointment at the Delaware City DMV. They rode with a friend who had her 90-year-old mother in the car and got stuck in traffic on Route 1, with thousands of others.

They didn’t get into the Delaware City DMV until after 5 p.m., and Jones’ blood sugar was dropping by then. Their friend got out of the car and found someone with a Gatorade, which Jones and the mom split.

A worker who came up to offer paperwork realized what was happening and went to find food, returning with a granola bar and cheese crackers.

Jones and friend’s mom got their vaccinations at 6:45 p.m. They were glad to have the shots and glad to be done, Brennan-Jones said.

The weekend’s totals meant that more than 21,000 Delaware residents have been vaccinated in the last two weekends, the press release said.

And after snarls at both the Delaware City and Georgetown DMVs, the state altered its plans Sunday.

Delays were caused by people arriving without an appointment, those with appointments not completing their pre-vaccination screening online before arriving, and technology issues resulting from the cold temperatures, a state release said.

Among the changes it made:

  • An email was sent early Sunday morning to individuals with Sunday appointments with instructions for completing the pre-registration forms. Staff and volunteers reported higher pre-registration completion rate Sunday, which sped up the process on site, requiring fewer lanes in Delaware City devoted to those with incomplete screening.
  • A separate area in Delaware City and separate lane in Georgetown was created for Phase 1A health care workers, who had not been registered and took longer to process.
  • Additional laptops and IT personnel were sent to the Delaware City site, along with generators to keep laptops and wi-fi systems charged. Georgetown switched to a paper-based system for Sunday.
  • Georgetown began vaccinations at 8:30 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. to accommodate individuals who arrived hours before their appointment time.

The state will offer mass vaccination events again this weekend.

 

Delawareans 65 and older can still register for the waiting list. Delawareans without computer access can call the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715, and a call center operator will assist them with making the initial request.

“We know that to reach all of the current and future phases in our vaccination effort, we have to have multiple opportunities and approaches, and we have been planning for that,” Rattay said in the press release. “There will be no one right way to get your COVID vaccine, and we are building new access points to serve eligible Delawareans now and in the future.”

The state expansion of vaccinations will include:

  • Partnering with Vault Health and community organizations to give shots to low-income, underserved seniors. Vault will hold a vaccination event for that group Tuesday at Delaware Technical Community College in Wilmington. Invitations were extended through the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, the Latin American Community Center, Reach Riverside and the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus. It is full. No one without an appointment will be vaccinated.
  • Curative – a COVID-19 testing partner – will begin invitation-only vaccination events for Delawareans who are 65 and older and have registered at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov. The first Curative events will be this week in Dover.  Curative events are expected to vaccinate 750 this week.
  • The state’s mass vaccination event this weekend is expected to serve at least 2,000 Delaware seniors who are registered. They will get invitations.
  • The state expects to increase allocations of the vaccine to certain pharmacies and health care providers enrolled in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Those enrolled pharmacies, hospital systems and specialty care providers are authorized to vaccinate Delawareans age 65 and older. Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, Aspira Health and the Camden Pharmacy also are now providing vaccinations to 65 and older clients with an appointment. For more, go to de.gov/covidvaccine.
  • The state Department of Education  will begin vaccination pre-registration for educators and school staff on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Its events will only serve those who work in public and private K-12 schools,  and district early childhood education centers. Child care provider vaccination events will start in February. The education department’s staged roll-out will include drive-thru clinics, on-site vaccination events at schools, and partnerships with Acme/Safeway Pharmacies. Follow the program at de.gov/k12vaccine

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