First Delaware Moderna vaccines given at Wilmington VA

Dr. Cleve Sinor, the chief of hospital inpatient medicine at the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday morning. (Delaware State News/Tim Mastro)

ELSMERE — A week after the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Delaware, another ally in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is being rolled out.

The state has begun distributing doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the weekend.

The Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center was one of the first facilities in the state to receive the Moderna vaccine. It begun vaccinating staff and at-risk patients on Tuesday.

“This is the first step,” said Dr. Cleve Sinor, the medical center’s chief of hospital inpatient medicine. “I feel very confident this will be a great tool to get COVID in our rearview mirror.”

Wilmington VA Medical Center Director Vince Kane said the center has already received 900 doses of the Moderna vaccine, adding more is expected to arrive in the coming days.

Mr. Kane said the plan is not only to vaccinate the frontline workers who deal with COVID-19 patients, but to also vaccinate its 37 residents who live in the center’s nursing home, the Community Living Center.

“Those veterans have been somewhat isolated since the beginning of the pandemic,” Mr. Kane said. “Getting them the vaccine further enhances their safety and really begins the process of us getting our residents and frontline staff vaccinated so we can begin to move forward with life beyond the pandemic.”

The vaccine isn’t mandatory, Mr. Kane said, but the center is strongly encouraging everyone to receive it.

Like the Pfizer vaccine, there are two doses necessary to receive the full effect of the vaccine. Moderna requires the second shot to be administered four weeks after the first while Pfizer’s second shot is recommended to be received three weeks after the first.

Mr. Kane said all individuals who got their vaccine on Tuesday are scheduled for their second dose in 28 days.

Another difference between the two vaccines is Moderna is for individuals 18 years or older while Pfizer is 16 years and up.

The most important thing, says Mr. Kane, is the Moderna vaccine was shown to have a 94% effectiveness rate in clinical trials with minimal side effects.

“That’s just phenomenal,” Mr. Kane said. “What we do know is yes, there are side effects, but the side effects are minimal. We’ve put procedures in place, as have other hospitals, to monitor people post-vaccine to make sure they don’t have adverse side effects. We know what the side effects of vaccine are, what we don’t know is the side effects of the pandemic. We’ve seen devastating consequences so I’ve been telling everybody that it’s critically important to move forward with the vaccine.”

According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, Delaware has administered a total of 3,872 doses of vaccine so far.

The state is expecting 16,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week. Some will be shipped directly to hospitals and federally qualified health centers with the remainder going to a DPH warehouse to be used for EMS and other settings.

The DPH is also slated to receive 2,925 more doses this week from Pfizer, which will be sent directly to hospitals.

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com.

Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.


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

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