Delaware specifies how it will handle second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines, Health

Delaware will make sure people get a second dose of vaccine in 28 to 35 days after the first shot.

Delaware will make sure people get a second dose of vaccine in 28 to 35 days after the first shot.


The Delaware Division of Public Health said Thursday that those who receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will get their second dose up to 42 days after the first.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally suggested getting the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days later and the second shot of the Moderna one 28 days later, the CDC provided new guidance this week, according to a press release from Public Health.

The first shot is designed to introduce your body to the vaccine so it recognizes it. Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, said this week in a town hall that the first shot offers 52% to 82% protecting against being infected by the virus. The second shot is designed to rev up your immune system, raising the level of antibodies as much as possible. That shot is support to give recipients a better than 90% chance of avoiding infection.

Given Delaware’s extremely limited vaccine supply, Public Health is now recommending to vaccine partners that they schedule second doses between 28 and 35 days after the first dose is administered.

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This policy will enable the state to continue administering first doses to the vulnerable 65+ population, which is at highest risk of hospitalization and death.

The state compared the efficacy of the COVID-19 and flu shots to make its point. Flu vaccine, which is responsible for saving countless lives and hospitalizations, provides 40% to 60% protection.

Delawareans who have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine are significantly better protected than their neighbors who haven’t been vaccinated, even without the second dose.

The state remains committed to ensuring all Delawareans receive their second dose by Day 42, unless federal guidance recommends otherwise, the press release said.

After a pause due to vaccine supply issues, the state and partners are resuming vaccinations for Phase 1A health care workers giving priority to Emergency Medical Services personnel, school nurses and health care workers who provide patient care and are at highest risk of sustained close contact with infected individuals.

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Doses are being delivered to county paramedic units by Friday and a vaccination event limited to emergency responders is being planned for Monday with appointments made through first responder agencies.

DPH began working Thursday with the County Paramedic Agencies, Delaware Fire Prevention Commission and the Police Chiefs Council to determine additional dates and locations as well.

Additional Phase 1A individuals will be notified about opportunities to receive their second dose through their associations or through correspondence from the Division of Professional Regulation, once DPH has scheduled those events.

Second doses of the vaccine do not need to be administered by the same provider or at the same location as an individual’s first dose. As vaccines become more widely available,  so will options for where to get second doses.

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Some pharmacies and medical providers administering first dose vaccinations are scheduling second dose appointments, which they will keep as vaccine supplies allow, the state press release said.

However, it is important that all individuals who are vaccinated receive the same formulations of the vaccine for their second dose: Those who received Moderna for the first dose should receive Moderna for their second. The same goes for the Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to keep their vaccine card to ensure they know what vaccine they received and when.

Public Health intends to provide second dose options for Phase 1B seniors who have been vaccinated in DPH events over the last two weekends as they reach the 28-35 day window, the press release said.

The division will communicate with those individuals and schedule them for second doses using the CDC’s VAMS appointment system that was used to schedule first doses. Those who received their vaccination before the registration system went live, will be provided information on or through community partners.

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