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Friday, March 5, 2021

Bayhealth gets the first COVID-19 vaccine that arrives in Delaware

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Bayhealth Pharmacist Kidane Geda stores the COVID-19 vaccine in an ultra-cold storage unit set to -70 degrees Celsius.
Bayhealth Pharmacist Kidane Geda stores the COVID-19 vaccine in an ultra-cold storage unit set to -70 degrees Celsius.

 

The first of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Delaware with the state releasing photos of some of Pfizer BioNTech drugs being stored in a Bayhealth freezer.

The state has pre-ordered its 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and a press release estimated Delaware is one of the first states in the nation to receive it.

“The Pfizer vaccine’s arrival is the first step in a process of getting back to our pre-pandemic normal,” said Gov. John Carney said in a press release. “We are all looking forward to that. The vaccine will provide our front-line health care workers with the protection they need while caring for Delawareans who have contracted the virus.

:The vaccine’s arrival does not mean we are in the clear. In fact, now more than ever, we need to step up our efforts to keep each other safe.”

 

The first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at Bayhealth’s Kent County location. The Division of Public Health expects to receive the remainder of the vaccine doses on Wednesday and will begin scheduling delivery to the remainder of the state’s health systems upon receipt.

If they are prepared, the hospitals can then begin vaccinating staff within 24 hours. 

“We are proud to be among our nation’s first health care leaders to receive the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine,” said Bayhealth President and CEO Terry M. Murphy. “The speed by which we were able to accept the vaccine is a testament to our drive to ensure our facilities are always safe, always open, and always ready. Our team members who are on the frontlines caring for COVID-19 patients will be among the first to receive the vaccine.”

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the public health, said the state is encouraging all frontlline workers to be tested. 

“The vaccine is the best protection we can offer health care workers to keep them safe at a critical time in this pandemic,” Rattay said.

 

Rattay will take part in a virtual town hall Monday night at 7 p.m. about how the state will receive, distribute and administer the vaccine. Rattay and Dr. Rick Hong, DPH’s medical director, will be on the show at 6 p.m. via a link that can be found at de.gov/coronavirus

DPH has devised a three-tier strategy for distribution:

Phase 1a: Health care personnel, emergency medical services agencies, and long-term care staff and residents will receive the vaccine first.   

Remainder of Phase 1: In early 2021, those who work in high-risk and critical infrastructure industries such as food processing, utilities, education, police and fire, those who work and live in congregate settings such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters, as well as those with certain underlying health conditions, and are aged 65 and older are likely to receive the vaccine. 

 

Phase 2: (March 2021) Those with more moderate risk for getting COVID-19 are eligible for receiving the vaccine. More details about specific groups in this phase will be provided as we get closer. 

Phase 3: (Spring/Summer 2021) The general public can expect to receive vaccines through their primary health care providers, health centers and pharmacies as the vaccine becomes more widely available. 

The state will not mandate that people take the virus. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to be vaccinated because the drug hasn’t been tested enough on younger people.

The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising women who are breastfeeding, individuals who have experienced allergic reactions to other vaccines and those who have compromised immune systems should discuss the benefits and risks of taking the vaccine with their medical provider before receiving it.

 

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