Vaccinations to begin at long-term care facilities

December 17, 2020

Delaware is among the first states in the nation to begin vaccinating staff at long-term care facilities.

After the state received 7,800 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at its warehouse in Kent County Dec. 16, the vaccine was delivered to three long-term care facilities owned and operated by Genesis Healthcare Inc. in Dover, Milford and Seaford. All three locations plan to start vaccinating staff Dec. 17, officials said. 

“We are all relieved to see that this vaccine has arrived at our long-term care facilities to protect Delaware’s most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19,” said Gov. John Carney in a press release. “But we’re not through the woods yet. We still face a difficult winter surge of cases and hospitalizations. Stay vigilant until we can widely distribute the vaccine. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with friends or family outside your household. We’ll get through this.”

Residents will be able to begin receiving the vaccine the week of Dec. 28, as part of vaccination efforts under the federal pharmacy program, officials said. Walgreens and CVS pharmacists are partnering with facilities to vaccinate residents. While the vaccine is shipped directly to the pharmacies from the federal level, doses come out of each state’s total allocation.

“Vaccination is the critical third leg of the stool, along with personal protective equipment and testing, in stemming the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and protecting residents and healthcare workers,” said Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer at Genesis. “This is unquestionably the biggest vaccination effort ever undertaken, and we thank Gov. John Carney for his support throughout this pandemic.”

Residents and staff at long-term care facilities have been one of the hardest-hit groups of the pandemic. Long-term care facilities residents account for 455 of the state’s 833 coronavirus deaths as of Dec. 11, and 1,736 of the state’s 47,929 positive coronavirus cases. 

Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay was at the DPH Kent County warehouse when the additional vaccine doses arrived, and she said she was grateful that Delaware is able to begin vaccinations at its long-term care facilities.

“Since March, many of us have not been able to visit with our parents and grandparents as we have tried to protect them from the virus with the only tools available to us, masks and social distancing,” she said. “This vaccine not only offers our seniors and long-term staff protection from the virus, it gives us hope that one day soon we will be able to visit with our loved ones again. It also means more of us will be here to celebrate the holidays next year. I am grateful Delaware is able to do this for its long-term care residents.”

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter