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The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Delaware

  • En español | Delaware is administering COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna to long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and frontline health care personnel, who make up Phase 1a of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
  • Updates on vaccine availability should be posted on the state's COVID-19 vaccine website. You can also call the Delaware Division of Public Health's vaccine call center (833-643-1715) or send questions to vaccine@delaware.gov.
  • Vaccine news is changing quickly. Check this guide for updates in days ahead.
US-HEALTH-VIRUS
Adults age 65 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware as part
of the state's Phase 1b vaccine group.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

When can older adults get the vaccine?   

About 189,000 adults age 65 years and older live in Delaware, representing nearly a fifth of the state’s population. They are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

The state has developed tiered priority groups. Phase 1a, mirroring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), includes some 70,000 health care workers working directly with patients in high-risk settings, including those in emergency services and home health. Delaware’s 15,000 nursing home residents and staff are also included in Phase 1a, which began in mid-December and is expected to take about eight weeks to complete.

Phase 1b, which includes the 65-plus population, began in mid-January. This tier also covers frontline essential workers, including police and firefighters, teachers, and workers in child care, corrections, agriculture and food processing, manufacturing, grocery stores, the U.S. Postal Service and public transit.

People age 16 to 64 with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus, such as diabetes, chronic lung or heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer, are in the final stage of Delaware's Phase 1, scheduled to start in March. This phase also includes people in high-risk group settings such as homeless shelters, group homes and prisons, and essential workers in other fields.

The rest of Delaware’s 50-plus population would become eligible in Phase 2, which is expected to start in April and also include essential workers not vaccinated during Phase 1 and people ages 16 to 49 who are at moderate risk for hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. Phases 3 and 4 would cover the rest of the public over age 16, starting in late spring.

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death.

How do I know when I’m able to get a vaccine?

AARP recommends that you talk to your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. 

Follow updates about the vaccine’s availability for various groups on the Delaware state government’s COVID-19 vaccine website. In addition to sharing information via social media, health care providers and other communication outlets, the state public health agency has a vaccine call center (833-643-1715) and email address (vaccine@delaware.gov).

Where can I get a vaccine?  

For those in Phase 1a, the vaccine is available primarily at health care workplaces and long-term care facilities. As the state moves into Phase 1b, people who qualify as part of their job should look for notification from their employer. Those who qualify on the basis of age will be served by pharmacies; medical facilities such urgent care centers, community clinics, or your doctor's office; and state-run vaccination events, the first of which are being held Jan. 22-24 in Delaware City and Georgetown.

The Division of Public Health has launched a registration site where Delawareans age 65-plus can request an appointment at an upcoming vaccine event. This puts you on a wait list for a slot; when one becomes available, you should receive an invitation email with instructions on scheduling your shot. Slots are limited, so you may not immediately receive an invitation

State officials recommend using the online system, but if you don't have computer or internet access you can call 833-643-1715 to get help registering for a vaccine appointment.

I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. If you get one of these vaccines, you’ll need a follow-up dose — three weeks later for the Pfizer shot, four weeks for Moderna’s.

“What you have is you get some degree, not optimal, but some degree of immunity a couple of weeks after the first dose,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in December. “That's not optimal. After the second dose, you get optimal immunity anywhere from seven to 10 days after the second dose."

Kits being supplied to vaccination sites by Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine program, include record cards that patients can take as a reminder to return for their second dose. Delaware plans to use letters, text messages and automated phone calls to remind people about second shots, using patient contact information in a state immunization registry called DelVAX.

The CDC has launched a web tool called v-safe that lets you sign up for text message reminders for your second vaccine appointment and report possible side effects.

How will nursing home and other long-term care residents get the vaccine? 

The federal government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer the COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to long-term care residents and staff. CVS is partnering with more than 40,000 facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living communities and other types of long-term care facilities, to provide vaccines to up to 4 million residents and staff through the program. Walgreens is providing vaccines to up to 3 million residents and staff at roughly 35,000 facilities.

Delaware provided vaccine doses directly to a handful of nursing homes to begin inoculating staff members on Dec. 17. Widespread vaccination of long-term care facility residents and staff through the federal pharmacy program began the week after Christmas.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination? 

AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. But the CDC says vaccine providers may still charge an administration fee for giving someone a shot. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has said the vaccine will be administered free of charge to Medicare beneficiaries with no copays. Some health insurance companies also have announced that policyholders won’t face out-of-pocket costs.

There are already reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

How long does immunity last after I get vaccinated? 

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis, like the flu shot.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?   

Yes. Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-life conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose of a vaccine. And while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective at preventing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s not yet clear whether someone who’s been vaccinated can still catch the virus and transmit it to others.

“We are not in the clear yet. We are still in for a very difficult winter. Please wear a mask,” Gov. John Carney said in announcing the state’s vaccine plan in December. “It’s a simple sacrifice to protect hospital capacity until we can vaccinate enough people to crush this virus.”

The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC and Delaware public health officials say it could take months for the population to build up immunity and they continue to recommend preventive measures such as face masks, physical distancing and frequent handwashing. 

AARP has also called for ongoing monitoring of vaccines, once they are authorized for public use, to identify any risks that weren't evident in the expedited development and review process.

This guide was originally published on Dec. 21. It was most recently updated on Jan. 21 with information on how eligible Delawareans can request appointments for state vaccine clinics.

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