Week 36: COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Delaware

December 16, 2020

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine arrived Dec. 16 in Delaware with 7,800 doses designated for front-line healthcare and emergency services workers and long-term care staff and residents. Elisabeth Cote, a Bayhealth nurse, was the first person in Delaware to receive the Pfizer vaccine administered Dec. 15. Vaccine was sent to Genesis long-term care facilities in Dover, Milford and Seaford.

On Dec. 16, in an event staged to stress the importance of the vaccine, five front-line workers at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes received the first vaccines in Sussex County.

State officials have provided the following priority plan:

Phase 1a: Healthcare personnel, emergency medical services agencies, and long-term care staff and residents.

Remainder of Phase 1: In early 2021, those who work in high-risk and critical infrastructure industries such as food processing, utilities, education, police and fire, those who work and live in congregate settings such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters, as well as those with certain underlying health conditions, and are aged 65 and older are likely to receive the vaccine.

Phase 2: (March 2021) Those with more moderate-risk for getting COVID-19 are eligible for receiving the vaccine. More details about specific groups in this phase will be provided.

Phase 3: (spring/summer 2021) The general public can expect to receive vaccines through their primary health care providers, health centers and pharmacies as the vaccine becomes more widely available.

Children under the age of 16 are not included in the initial three phases of the vaccine’s rollout, as the FDA has not yet approved its use for individuals who fall into this category. More clinical trials involving children under 16 are still needed.

The Pfizer vaccine has a 90 percent effectiveness rate. Comparatively, the flu vaccine is generally 40 to 60 percent effective.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses spaced about three weeks a part to be effective. The same brand of vaccine must be administered for both doses. State health officials plan to remind individuals to get their second dose of the vaccine by sending reminder letters, providing automated phone calls and text messages and by patient record cards.

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