Delaware receives remainder of pre-ordered COVID vaccine doses

DOVER — The number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in Delaware increased to the 400-mark for the first time Wednesday — the same day the state received its remaining 7,800 preordered doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 hospitalizations went up by 24 compared to the day prior, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health’s daily report. There were 400 individuals hospitalized with the virus as of Tuesday at 6 p.m., which is the highest total to date. Of those currently hospitalized, 54 cases are considered critical.

The DPH also announced seven new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the state’s total to 833. The seven deaths were of people ranging in age from 47 years old to 88 years old and all seven had underlying health conditions, the DPH said.

Three of the most recent deaths were Sussex County residents while two were from Kent County and two were from New Castle County. None of the newly announced deaths were residents of a long-term care center so that number of deaths remained at 455.

As COVID-19 numbers are rising, the latest vaccine shipment from Pfizer arrived at the DPH’s warehouse in Kent County on Wednesday. The doses will be kept at below-freezing temperatures in the state’s ultra-cold storage unit until they are ready to be shipped to their final destinations.

Most of the 7,800 Pfizer vaccine doses will be distributed to the state’s remaining five health care systems (Beebe Healthcare, ChristianaCare, Nemours duPont Hospital for Children, Saint Francis Healthcare, and TidalHealth Nanticoke) within the next 24 to 48 hours, the DPH said.

Delaware, which was one of the first state’s to receive the Pfizer vaccine, had an initial shipment of 975 doses arrive Monday at Bayhealth’s Kent County’s campus. Bayhealth administered 88 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, according to information reported by the health care system.

“This is a historic moment for us in Public Health, and I can’t express how eager I am to get the vaccine into the hands of our partners at the health care systems, so they can start to vaccinate their frontline and essential staff,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay in a statement.

“They have faithfully cared for the sickest Delawareans while bravely risking their own health and often sacrificing contact with their own families to keep us all healthy and safe. It is our greatest hope that those same health care workers will now care for themselves by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. It is the best protection we can offer them, and one of the ways we will beat this virus.”

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was granted emergency-use authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration last week. The FDA’s advisory committee will meet today to review manufacturer Moderna’s application for an EUA. If approved over the weekend, Delaware could receive an initial shipment of 16,700 doses of Moderna next week, according to the DPH.

The DPH said it will also receive an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week. An additional 6,825 doses of Pfizer will be reserved as part of the federal pharmacy program for vaccinating long-term care residents and staff in the coming weeks as well. This brings the total of Delaware’s Pfizer allotment for the week of Dec. 21 to 10,725 doses.

The DPH is in the process of setting up a Vaccine Call Center, which it expects to be operational starting at 10:30 a.m. today A phone number will be provided when it becomes available. Individuals can email their questions concerning the vaccine to Vaccine@Delaware.gov. Individuals can also visit de.gov/covidvaccine for up-to-date information.

Delaware has recorded 47,929 positive COVID-19 cases since the first one was reported on March 11 after 776 new cases were in Wednesday’s report. The latest seven-day rolling average for percentage of positive tests, as of Sunday at 6 p.m., is at 9.4%.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

Have a question, tip, or resources about the coronavirus pandemic? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll do what we can to provide answers.