Starting Jan. 20, the state has moved to Phase 1B in its COVID-19 vaccination plan, with a focus on persons 65 years of age and over.
More than 200,000 Delawareans qualify for vaccination in this phase, and multiple options for residents to be vaccinated will begin this week and then expand in coming weeks, including large vaccination events with a new appointment request system.
Five drive-through vaccination events for persons 65 and older, as well as for remaining Phase 1A personnel, have been scheduled on Friday, Jan. 22, at the Delaware City Division of Motor Vehicles and on Saturday, Jan. 23, and Sunday, Jan. 24, at the Delaware City and Georgetown DMV locations.
These vaccination events are by appointment only. Delawareans who are 65 or older can register at de.gov/covidvaccine.
Phase 1B includes all individuals 65 and over, and frontline essential workers including: fire, police, correctional officers, teachers and education staff including child care providers, U.S. postal workers, food manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and grocery store workers. Efforts will also continue to vaccinate Phase 1A health care personnel and nursing home residents and staff who have not yet been vaccinated.
With limited vaccination doses available from the federal government, officials said it could take weeks or months for all 200,000 Phase 1B eligible individuals to be vaccinated. Options for others included in Phase 1B include the following:
K-12 educators: Acme and Safeway pharmacies will host vaccination events for educators at multiple school sites throughout the state starting the week of Jan. 25.
Child care workers: Information will be released the week of Jan, 25.
Correctional officers: The Department of Correction will continue receiving vaccine as supply allows and will continue vaccinating inmates and officers in order based on age and health condition.
Other frontline essential workers: The Division of Small Business will release information in the coming days that will assist employers who want to host their own vaccination events for their employees or who want to help their employees learn where to get vaccinated.
Pharmacies: A list of pharmacies taking COVID-19 vaccine appointments will be available at de.gov/covidvaccine starting the week of Jan. 25. Pharmacies are expected to be a primary choice for vaccinations as more vaccine becomes available, but as with other methods, they will have limited doses in the early part of the effort. Pharmacies are asked to limit their efforts in their stores at this time to Phase 1A and Phase 1B individuals 65 and over.
Any individuals who arrive without an appointment for this weekend’s events should not expect to be vaccinated, health officials said. In the next few weeks, additional large-scale vaccination venues are expected to be brought online to vaccinate Phase 1B individuals and future phase groups. As the state progresses through and past Phase 1B, the appointment system will be used for individuals in future phases.
More than 56,000 request vaccinations
More than 56,000 requests were submitted on Jan. 20, the first day of the Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccine reservation system. For the first phase, requests are only being taken from Delawareans age 65 and over, who are at higher risk for COVID-19 incidence and mortality, said Delaware Division of Public Health officials.
The requests being submitted create a waiting list for vaccination appointments, and do not immediately provide an appointment time and location, which will be offered to requesters as they become available.
DPH drive-through vaccination events to be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Delaware City and Georgetown will provide the first opportunity for persons who requested an appointment to be vaccinated. Invitations to make appointments for these events were extended Jan. 21, with highest priority for the limited slots going to individuals with age and health conditions that put them at greater risk.
“Now that we have requests from so many, we can begin through a process of getting them vaccinated,” said Director of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The first opportunity will be at our drive-through clinics this weekend, but that certainly will not accommodate all these requests. Even though people have submitted a request, if they get an opportunity with their medical provider or employer or pharmacy, they should take that. We are building a system with multiple paths to get vaccinated, and this requests system is a part of it.”
• 56,276 requests total between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., with the first 33,000 requests by 10 a.m.
• About 27,000 requests were from New Castle County, 24,000 from Sussex County and 5,200 from Kent County
Thousands take part in first clinic
As many as 7,500 people were expected to have received COVID-19 vaccinations during the state's first mass clinic at the Dover Department of Motor Vehicles facility Jan. 16-18.
On Saturday, reports surfaced that some people not included in the Phase 1A plan received shots, including several senior citizens 65 years of age and older, who are included in Phase 2B of the plan. State health officials said plans were in place to tighten pre-shot screenings the last two days of the clinic to ensure that only Phase 1A participants – including front-line and healthcare workers and staff and residents at long-term care facilities – received vaccinations.
The start of Phase 1B is scheduled to begin the last week of January. Health officials said 70,000 people are included in Phase 1A and 200,000 are included in Phase 2B.
As of Jan. 17, the state had administered 41,309 doses of the 77,000 vaccine doses received so far.
Division of Public Health officials said that some seniors were given vaccine as a test in preparation for the next phase to determine if more time is required for observation for any allergic reactions.
Even during pandemic, holiday shopping survives
According to TOP Data, holiday consumer spending – including in-store and on-line shopping – was down 4.4 percent nationwide compared to 2019, with 18 states showing increases in spending, including Delaware at 26 percent.
Delaware was the lone state on Delmarva to register an increase with shoppers in Maryland (down 6 percent) and Virginia (17 percent) spending less. The largest increase was seen in Montana with shoppers spending 99 percent more than they did in 2019. Massachusetts shoppers were at the bottom of the list spending 41 percent less.
The average shopper in the country spent $1,192 during the holiday period.
State death toll surpasses 1,000
On Jan. 14, the state's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 1,000 to 1,002. Of that total, 317 deaths have been reported in Sussex County, 499 in New Castle and 186 in Kent. More than 530 deaths have been at long-term care facilities.