WILMINGTON — Delaware has continued to take its full allotment of COVID-19 vaccines each week from the federal government, but if demand drops further, the state might ask for less supply.
“We have ordered all vaccine available to us to date,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “That being said, we feel it’s very important that we are good stewards of this public good. We have seen decreased demand at some of our own clinics, and our partners have been ordering less vaccine, so we’re pivoting our strategy to make it easier for people to get vaccine, like walk-in clinics and events where people are located.”
The DPH has five clinics — at the Winder Laird Porter State Service Center in Wilmington, the James W. Williams State Service Center in Dover, the Milford Riverwalk State Service Center, the Thurman Adams State Service Center in Georgetown and the Anna C. Shipley State Service Center in Seaford — that have walk-in hours of 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:15-4 p.m. weekdays to receive a vaccine without an appointment.
Those clinics offer the Pfizer vaccine, the only one approved for those 16 or older. Second-dose appointments may be scheduled on-site, too. Individuals can also walk in for second-dose shots, even if they have already received their first dose at a different site.
Several pharmacies like CVS and Rite Aid are now also offering vaccines to walk-ins, though registering in advance is still recommended.
For other vaccination events, Delawareans can register for state-run clinics here.
The shift to so many walk-in options means the potential for vaccine waste is higher — a stark contrast to earlier this year when the state did not have enough supply to keep up with demand, and vaccines were administered at appointment-only events.
“When we were in a period for months where demand was far exceeding supply, we did everything we could. We treated the vaccine like gold,” Dr. Rattay said. “Wasting a single dose was completely unacceptable. Now, we’re pivoting to a different place, where if we want to make it easy and accessible with walk-in clinics, you don’t always know how many people will show up on a given day. What’s most important right now, especially when supply is exceeding demand, is to get vaccine into people when we have that opportunity.
“We don’t want to waste doses, but on the other hand, we want to take advantage of every opportunity when a person is ready for a vaccine, to give them the vaccine.”
Delaware has administered 785,535 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, as of Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., using information from the state’s immunization information system, DelVAX. Of the age-eligible population, 54.2% of Delawareans have received at least one dosage.
The state is reporting 205,630 doses remaining in its inventory. Out of those doses, 137,444 (66.8%) have been distributed to providers and are either waiting to be administered or are not yet reported as administered. An additional 14,991 doses (7.3%) are in the DPH warehouse and are committed for distribution to providers. The remaining doses have not been committed for distribution yet.
Gov. John Carney said numerous governors on a conference call with the White House on Tuesday had discussions on what would happen if they did not take their full allotment of doses one week.
“If you don’t take your full allocation, they’ll put it in pool, which will be made available to other states which may have the capacity to use that vaccine,” Gov. Carney said. “I got the impression that sometime later, you can come back and acquire what you gave up in that pool, although that was left a little bit up in the air.”
A total of 353,108 individuals have been fully vaccinated in Delaware, including 318,022 Delawareans. Nonresidents can be vaccinated in Delaware provided they either work in the First State or receive their health care here.
An additional 114,463 total persons are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received their first dose of a two-dose vaccine series and are awaiting their second. Nearly 103,000 of those are Delawareans.
Delaware’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped to 115 in Thursday’s report from the DPH, reflecting data as of 6 p.m. Wednesday. That represents a drop of 17 compared to the day prior and is the lowest amount of COVID-19 hospitalizations since there were 107 on March 24.
The DPH reported 168 new positive cases of the virus, bringing the overall total to 105,572. One new COVID-19-related death was announced, the state’s 1,629th. It was a 75-year-old from Sussex County who was a resident of a long-term care facility — the 747th COVID-19-related death in a long-term care center.