A mass vaccination site in Dover over the weekend gave shots to everyone who showed up, even those not meeting the age requirements.
The Division of Public Health hosted the event Jan. 16, 17 and 18, at the Dover Division of Motor Vehicles for healthcare workers and people 65 and older, but many outside those categories showed up.
“Unfortunately, word of mouth caused uninvited individuals to arrive on Saturday. DPH made the game-time decision to vaccinate those who showed up uninvited, because determining who among the 65-and-over crowd was invited and who was not, was not logistically feasible,” said Jen Brestel, DPH spokeswoman.
DPH had extended the vaccinations to a limited number of senior citizens, Brestel said, since public health does not have the logistical capacity to vaccinate all 186,000 of Delaware’s seniors. She said DPH also did not want the vaccines available at the clinic to go to waste.
Brestel said there were 2,360 people vaccinated Jan. 16; 3,410 on Jan. 17; and Jan. 18’s count will likely exceed 3,000.
“In that sense, it was a very successful effort in vaccinating almost 9,000 Delawareans,” she said. “That said, we know the process created confusion.”
To prevent this type of confusion in the future, Brestel said, DPH staff and other state agencies worked around the clock through the weekend to develop a registration system for vaccination events, so individuals can be provided specific vaccination appointments.
“That system will be available very soon. It is Delaware's intent to conduct large vaccination events efficiently and safely without the chaos that has been seen in some other states,” she said.
Brestel said the experience of this weekend contributed to building a better system for all Delawareans to be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months.
To date, Delaware has received 77,600 vaccines, and as of Jan. 17 had administered 43,063 vaccinations. Based on the most recent data, about 4 percent of Delaware’s population has been vaccinated.