State to expedite vaccinations for Phase 1A

WILMINGTON — In an effort to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations, state officials have developed a plan they termed a “sprint to vaccinate Phase 1A.”

The plan is highlighted by six weekend drive-thru vaccination events scheduled for the remainder of this month at Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles facilities.

The state is expanding these drive-thru events at DMVs after three successful pilot events. Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said last week the DPH was able to vaccinate 650 individuals at an event at the Georgetown DMV. It lasted two hours and was open to first responders who have medical-related duties, school nurses and home-help personnel.

For these upcoming events, the DPH is reaching out to home health, dialysis center and health care personnel serving people with intellectual disabilities. The hope is the vaccination clinics can operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on upcoming Saturdays and Sundays.

“The weekend aspect allows us to get more people through,” Dr. Rattay said. “We’re hoping to vaccinate a lot of people this weekend. We’re really eager to get all health care workers who have not yet gotten their vaccination, if not through their health care system or other activities, to get vaccinated at one of these events.”

As part of the DPH’s efforts to expedite the Phase 1A vaccinations, several pharmacies will begin administering the vaccine, beginning with those in Phase 1A: health care personnel with direct contact with ill patients or infectious material, emergency medical services agencies, long-term care staff and long-term care residents, according to the DPH’s plan.

This week, six Rite Aid stores and Camden Pharmacy are starting vaccinations, followed by a combined 60 Walgreens and Giant stores the week after. For the week of Jan. 25, 11 Acme, SaveOn and Safeway stores will begin their vaccinations with plans for CVS and Walmart to join shortly after.

“Our infrastructure to be able to vaccinate is expanding,” Dr. Rattay said. “Of course, right now, their focus is going to be 1A. But as you can see, this is preparing us well to move into 1B with all of these pieces. So there are a lot of options and opportunities for people to get vaccinated.”

The DPH has said it hopes to move into Phase 1B by the end of January.

Any health care practices in Phase 1A who do not have a vaccination plan in place should contact VaccinePlanning@delaware.gov. Questions about the vaccine can be directed to the Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 or emailed to Vaccine@Delaware.gov.

Delaware had administered 26,739 doses of the vaccine as of Monday at 11:59 p.m. Although Dr. Rattay said the state is experiencing reporting delays and the actual number could be about 10,000 higher than that.

The state had received 58,950 doses of vaccine as of Monday at 11:59 p.m. A shipment of 5,300 doses arrived Monday after five consecutive days where the state did not receive any additional doses.

When more vaccine becomes available in the future and vaccinations are opened up to more phases, the state’s goal is to have larger vaccination events set up similar to its COVID-19 testing program. This fall saw some flu clinics use that model.

“Hopefully sometime very, very soon, we do a mass vaccinations, much like we do testing,” Gov. John Carney said. “It’s a little bit more challenging enterprise, for sure, than testing.”

Delaware has recorded 66,446 positive COVID-19 cases since the first was reported on March 11 and 991 individuals have suffered COVID-19-related deaths, as of Monday at 6 p.m.

The DPH reported five additional COVID-19 deaths and 506 new positive cases in Tuesday’s update. All five deaths were individuals who had underlying health conditions and they ranged in age from 72 years old to 100 years old.

All five were from New Castle County and two were residents of long-term care centers. Long-term care center residents have made up 528 of Delaware’s 991 total COVID-19 related deaths (53.2%).

COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by two compared to the day prior to rise to an all-time high of 473. Of those hospitalized, 55 are considered critical, according to the DPH.


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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