Delaware pushes to vaccinate more elderly, underserved

February 2, 2021

Delaware’s vaccination effort will focus on reaching more elderly and underserved, minority communities, Gov. John Carney announced Feb. 2.

“Our goal remains the same: We’re working to vaccinate as many Delawareans as possible, as quickly as possible,” Carney said in a press release. “We also need to make sure we’re distributing the vaccine equitably and reaching especially those Delaware seniors who are less mobile and don’t have access to a computer or smartphone. These additional efforts by the Division of Public Health and their partners will expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine among those populations, so we can reach all of our neighbors with this life-saving vaccine." 

As of Feb. 1, Delaware and its partners had administered 103,791 COVID-19 vaccinations; however, only 4 percent of those vaccinated are Black and 2 percent are Hispanic, according to Delaware's vaccine tracker

In 31 percent of vaccination records, race remains unreported; Carney said he plans to announce steps this week to ensure that enrolled vaccination providers promptly report race and other demographic information to DPH. 

“We are proud to have reached the mark of 100,000 doses delivered so far in our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. That’s about a tenth of our population who has reduced their risk already even before the second dose, since the first dose has 52 percent to 80 percent effectiveness,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Division of Public Health director. “Our goal is to keep expanding the network of options for getting vaccinated, including finding ways to reach individuals and communities where large vaccination events are not a suitable option.” 

Over the last two weeks, the state has piloted a series of efforts aimed at vaccinating the hardest-to-reach seniors. Increased efforts will include partnering with the Wilmington Housing Authority to vaccinate 65-and-older Delawareans in senior high-rises as part of a larger effort to reach seniors who don’t have access to technology or who may have mobility challenges; and delivering 4,000 doses to enrolled pharmacies with a focus on pharmacies serving underserved communities.   

Hospital systems and specialty care providers including Beebe Healthcare are creating events in partnership with the state to vaccinate 65-and-older Delawareans and underserved populations. Hospitals will receive about 4,000 doses this week to administer to the elderly as well as their own Phase 1A healthcare workers, officials said.

Also coming up, Carney said, first responders previously vaccinated by the Division of Public Health will receive second doses in a series of events Feb. 3-18. Others on the waiting list are expected to be vaccinated at events by invitation.   

The Delaware Department of Education is coordinating vaccinations for 1,200 educators and school staff this week.  

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