The average Delawarean may not be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine until spring or summer, under the best of circumstances.
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said that while the state has been told it could receive some vaccine by next week, that’s not a sure thing and the vaccine will be administered according to a state plan.
“When will this come to Delaware, we’re not sure, “ Rattay said. “At one point we got a Nov. 15 date but we’re thinking that’s not going happen either, but we will be ready whenever it comes. We’re thinking that’s probably going to be December.“
In the meantime, she said, Delawareans should take extra precautions because the number of positive cases are rising in the First State and nationwide. She warned that people should not eat out with anyone who was not in their household. And she said that people should not plan Thanksgiving celebrations with anyone outside their household, even close family.
Rattay made her comments during the state’s weekly COVID-19 press conference, a day after Pfizer announced its vaccine is 90 percent effective. Their vaccine is still going through testing and hasn’t yet been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Eli Lilly also announced it has a vaccine near ready.
Many health officials nationwide don’t believe the general population will be able get a vaccine until well into 2020.
Rattay said the state’s ethics commission had reinforced its plan detailing how vaccines will be used when they first arrive.
Tier A will be first, with high- risk workers in healthcare facilities and first responders.
Tier B with go next with high-risk workers in healthcare facilities not covered by the first tier, those with comorbid or underlying health conditions, and those in certain congregate settings such as long-term care facilities.
“High risk workers who provide direct patient care, especially those who may be COVID positive, are very high on the list,” Rattay said, “As are all first responders as they don’t know when they encounter people with COVID and must be protected.”
The state Ethics Committee based their decisions off guidance from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rattay said there is no way to be sure when the average resident will be able to get a vaccine.
“I wish I knew,” Rattay said. “I wish I could say January. But, likely, I think maybe optimistically around maybe March/April and probably really … I think late spring /summer.”