Carney town hall: 22,000 join vaccine waiting list

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WILMINGTON — About 22,000 Delawareans added themselves to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine waiting list on Tuesday, according to Gov. John Carney.

Tuesday was the first day those 16 years old and older were able to register. Gov. Carney said the state can do about 15,000 individuals a week off the waiting list at this point.

Those on the waiting list will receive invitations to state-run vaccination clinics at Dover International Speedway and Delaware Tech campuses, among others. Slots are prioritized by age and health conditions.

Gov. Carney added he was anticipating more people signing up on the first day.

“That number is actually a little bit lower than I thought it was going to be,” Gov. Carney said during a virtual town hall on Tuesday night. “When we opened it to 65 years and older, the first day it was like 75 to 80,000 sign-ups. That means people have been able to get vaccinated as essential workers based on their employment. That is a good thing.”

Those not on the waiting list already can sign up at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov.

Pharmacies are also an option. Individuals can make appointments directly with the pharmacy. To find pharmacies with the COVID-19 vaccine visit vaccinefinder.org and by ZIP code or type of vaccine.

Gov. Carney said the state is sending about 10,000 doses a week to pharmacies. An additional 14,000 are going directly to pharmacies through the Federal Pharmacy Program.

Those 16 and 17 years old are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are only approved for those 18 years old and older.

Dr. Rick Hong, medical director for the Delaware Division of Public Health, said Tuesday studies are being done to see if the age can be lowered for any of the vaccines.

He said the DPH is looking into having high schools hold vaccination events for their eligible students.

“We are looking at ways to get the vaccine out before the new school year,” Dr. Hong said, “so that they can come in fully vaccinated.”

Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded Delaware $16,018,627 to support local efforts to increase vaccine uptake — by expanding COVID-19 vaccine programs and ensuring greater equity and access to vaccines by those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The award is part of $3 billion in funding that the CDC has granted to 64 jurisdictions to bolster broad-based vaccine distribution, access, and administration efforts. The funding was made available by the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and will provide critical support through CDC’s existing immunization cooperative agreements in communities around the country.

“We are doing everything we can to expand access to vaccinations,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH in a statement. “Millions of Americans are getting vaccinated every day, but we need to ensure that we are reaching those in the communities hit hardest by this pandemic. This investment will support state and local health departments and community-based organizations as they work on the frontlines to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake.”

To ensure health equity and expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines:

• 75% of the total funding must focus on specific programs and initiatives intended to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities.

• 60% must go to support local health departments, community-based organizations, and community health centers.

Delaware has administered 511,766 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data in the state’s immunization information system DelVAX as of Monday at 11:59 p.m.

The state received its largest shipment of vaccine yet on Monday, with 32,940 doses arriving. A total of 507,760 doses have been shipped directly to Delaware while another 127,455 have been allotted through the Federal Pharmacy Program.

In terms of COVID-19 case statistics, the state is averaging 321.7 new cases per day over the last week. There were 233 positive cases reported by the DPH in Tuesday’s update, bringing the state’s total to 96,806.

Hospitalizations fell significantly, down 27 compared to the day prior as they dropped to 140. Of those 140, 17 cases are considered critical.

The DPH reported one new COVID-19-related death, increasing the total to 1,567.