Delaware has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offer a six-day vaccination event at Dover International Speedway for residents to receive their second COVID-19 shots.
“We really want you to take advantage of the FEMA events, the five or six days at Dover International Speedway where we've got plenty of doses for everyone who attended our events,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. “This really is your easiest chance to make sure you get your second dose of the vaccine.”
The vaccination site will be able to provide the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to up to 3,000 Delawareans a day for six days, starting Sunday, Feb. 21. However, these second-dose appointments will only be available for those who received a first dose from the DPH at one of the following events:
- Dover Division of Motor Vehicles Jan. 16-18
- Salesianum School in Wilmington Jan. 18
- Delaware City Division of Motor Vehicles Jan. 22-24
- Georgetown Division of Motor Vehicles Jan. 23-24
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be provided to those who received their first dose at these locations.
Sign-ups for second-dose appointments for the FEMA vaccination clinic opened at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, at de.gov/fema. Appointments will be made with a simplified scheduling system created by DPH and not through the Centers for Disease Control VAMS system that some first-dose recipients may have used to make appointments for the Georgetown and Delaware City events in January. “This will be a much abbreviated process,” said A.J. Schall, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.
Those without internet access may call DPH at 1-833-643-1715. Officials said wait time may be lengthy based on call volume, and online registration is urged.
However, wait time hasn't been the only issue for Michael Dill, who has been trying for weeks to sign up his 89-year-old father for his second shot. His father received his first shot Jan. 22 at the Georgetown DMV, and since then, Dill has called DPH and local hospitals, gone through the VAMS sign-up system, contacted his father's primary care physician, and followed every vaccine link provided by the state in an effort to make a second appointment for his dad.
“I've spent endless hours on the phone, and no one has any answers,” Dill said. “I've checked every day since he got his shot, trying to make an appointment.”
Dill said the process has been much more complicated than it should be, especially for senior citizens who struggle with computers, and don't understand how to navigate through government websites.
“It's an endless scroll about where you can get your second shot,” Dill said. “They're not incompetent when you owe taxes. They're not incompetent when they're raising some fees on something, but they can't get you the vaccine.”
Appointments taken for Dover clinic
With the latest link at de.gov/fema, officials said, anyone making an appointment for the Dover International Speedway clinic will have to indicate the location and date of the DPH first-dose event they attended. Individuals can create an appointment for someone else after they create their own, and may have a single email tied to multiple appointments. Everyone who arrives to be vaccinated must have an appointment.
Vaccinations will occur between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day, scheduled in 15-minute increments. DPH will initially schedule appointments for the first five days and will open the sixth day as needed.
Visitors can access the vaccination site through Dover International Speedway’s Leipsic Road entrance. To reduce waiting, officials urge those with appointments to arrive close to their allotted time, and to do the following:
- Enter the speedway grounds through 1000 Leipsic Road, not the main entrance from Route 13
- Have a full tank of gas
- Have personal identification (a driver’s license or photo ID)
- Have proof of first COVID-19 vaccination (vaccination card)
- Have confirmation of their appointment
- Bring snacks to enjoy while waiting in line.
Officials said FEMA will have socially distanced staff on site to ensure prompt service is available to all and that proper COVID-19 protocol is adhered to.
In the latest guidance from the CDC, people who have been vaccinated and are then exposed to someone with COVID-19 are not required to quarantine as long as they have been fully vaccinated in the last three months, and they are asymptomatic, Rattay said.
Tighter masks recommended
New guidance from the CDC recommends tightly fitted masks to prevent transfer of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing two masks can also prevent virus spread because they provide more layers to trap the infectious aerosols and provide a tighter seal around the face, Rattay said.
“If your mask is big and there are gaps around it, you’re putting yourself and others at risk,” she said.
Supply still needed
Vaccine supply remains an issue in Delaware, which had received 162,050 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as of Feb. 15. A total of 154,483 people have been vaccinated, with about 120,000 receiving a first dose and 34,000 who have received the second dose.
“We are really grateful that 43,000 senior citizens in Delaware have at least received their first dose,” Rattay said.
The state has been receiving about 20,000 doses a week since January, and shipments are expected to increase, said Gov. John Carney. The federal government is now giving allocations directly to pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS, he said, in addition to the state supplies.
“The issue here is supply. The lack of supply of lifesaving vaccines that we need to make sure Delawareans are safe,” he said. “At the end of the day it's simply about supply.”