Week 42: Ups and downs of vaccine roll out

State’s focus remains on first doses for residents 65 years of age and older
January 28, 2021

The first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Sussex County Jan. 23 and 24 at the Georgetown Department of Motor Vehicles inspections lanes were a study in contrasts.

While nearly the same number of people were vaccinated both days, wait times varied greatly. Some waited as long as five hours on Jan. 23, while wait times were decreased dramatically the following day as the clinic started earlier than scheduled.

State health officials said part of the delay could be tied to computer issues due to the cold weather. Volunteers and staff had to switch from computerized records to paper records.

In all, nearly 5,000 first doses of Moderna vaccine were administered in Georgetown over the two days.

So far, statewide, nearly 70,000 people have received the vaccine.


EMS workers' event planned Feb. 1

State health officials will resume vaccinations for Phase 1A healthcare workers with priority to emergency medical services personnel, school nurses and healthcare workers who provide patient care and are at highest risk of sustained close contact with infected individuals. Doses are being delivered to county paramedic units by Jan. 29 and a vaccination event limited to emergency responders is being planned for Monday, Feb. 1, with appointments made through first-responder agencies.

Given extremely limited vaccine supply, DPH is recommending to vaccine partners that they schedule second doses between 28 and 35 days after the first dose is administered. This policy will enable the state to continue administering first doses to the vulnerable 65+ population at highest risk of hospitalization and death. The science shows that the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine provides 52 percent to 80 percent protection, health officials said.

The CDC announced Jan. 29 that an interval of 42 days between doses is acceptable, if adhering to the 21-day (Pfizer) and 28-day (Moderna) intervals is not possible.

Second doses of the vaccine do not need to be administered by the same provider or at the same location as an individual’s first dose, meaning as vaccines become more widely available so will options for where to get second doses.

Some pharmacies and medical providers administering first dose vaccinations are scheduling second-dose appointments, which they will keep as vaccine supplies allow. However, it is important that all individuals who are vaccinated receive the same formulations of the vaccine for their second dose, health officials said. Those who received Moderna for the first dose should receive Moderna for their second dose. The same goes for the Pfizer vaccine.

Health officials intend to provide second-dose options for Phase 1B seniors who have been vaccinated over the last two weekends as they reach the 28-35 day window. Officials will communicate with those individuals and schedule them for second doses using the CDC’s VAMS appointment system that was used to schedule first doses.

Focus still on 65+

Delaware health officials say the COVID-19 vaccination focus is still on residents aged 65 and or older as additional clinics and partners are added.

Vaccinations are still available by appointment only by registering at

Planning is underway for another DPH large vaccination event this coming weekend, which will serve at least 2,000 seniors from the waiting list by appointment only. Information will be sent for that event to seniors on the waiting list. Delawareans 65 and older can still register to get on the waiting list. Those without computer access can call 1-833-643-1715, and a call center operator will assist them.

As of Jan. 28, officials had not disclosed the sites for the weekend events.


Plan for teachers and school staff

The Delaware Department of Education began vaccination pre-registration for educators and school staff Jan. 26 for vaccination events, which will only be open to those who work in public and private K-12 schools as well as district early-childhood education centers. Child care provider vaccination events are being planned in early February. Staged roll-out will include drive-through clinics, on-site vaccinations at schools and partnerships with Acme and Safeway pharmacies. Additional information is available at


To register, go to


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