Mass vaccination events in Dover have helped whittle down the number of people waiting for a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the state closer to resuming first shots for people still in line for vaccinations.
On Feb. 25, officials opened the Friday, Feb. 26 FEMA vaccine event at Dover International Speedway to people who had received their first dose Jan. 29 or earlier from any location or venue. These vaccinations are for individuals who live, work or obtain their healthcare in Delaware and who received their first dose in Delaware, officials said.
Scheduling is open at de.gov/fema. Those without internet access can call the Division of Public Health at 1-833-643-1715. Officials ask those who have an appointment to use the speedway entrance at 1000 Leipsic Road and have a vaccination card that shows when they got their first shot. They also should bring personal identification such as a driver’s license.
Before opening to people who got their first shots Jan. 29 or earlier, Dover International Speedway held a weeklong vaccination event for anyone who received a shot before Jan. 22, regardless of where they got the shot, and Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director A.J. Schall said 3,800 slots were available for appointments on Friday, Feb. 26.
Unlike the massive lines that went on for hours at Division of Motor Vehicle vaccination events in January, Schall said people are moving through much faster, as little as 15 minutes in most cases. Most of the time, he said, is spent in the post-shot observation period.
Along with more vaccines arriving in the state and directly to pharmacies, there will be more opportunities to get a shot.
The Vax Machine is a bus that will drive into underserved communities to vaccinate residents, and Curative trailers which have provided easy access testing will soon be transformed into vaccine sites.
Gov. John Carney said he expects the vaccine process to eventually become as easy as today's COVID-19 testing – a process in some cases of simply walking up to a trailer and taking the test. When it rolled out during the summer months, however, it was far from simple, with people waiting in long lines to get tested.
“This is the vaccination equivalent of what we did with testing,” he said. “Our testing success shows we can do it. We can achieve fast and fair.”
During a press conference Feb. 23, Dr. Karyl Rattay, Division of Public Health director, there are about 73,000 people on a waitlist for their second dose, and she expects to focus on allocating more first doses soon.
“We're looking forward to getting back to offering more first doses to Delaware seniors,” she said.