Delaware is getting slightly less vaccine than it planned for, and that means some groups will get the vaccine slightly later than originally hoped for.
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the state Division of Public Health, said that meant people who are 65 and older will start getting the shots in middle to late January.
“Please be patient with us, as there is not enough vaccine to go around right now,” Rattay said.
This week the state anticipates 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive intended for people in long term care facilities and 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine intended to be used as the second dose for healthcare workers that have been vaccinated in with the initial doses, she said.
Also, 5,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive in Delaware this week to be administered to health care providers.
Rattay talked about the announcement that it changed the ages for older people to receive the vaccine from 75 — recommended by the CDC — to 65.
“We realized that if we went with 75, we would have a real equity issue,” Rattay said. “When we looked at out death data from COVID, the average age for white individuals was 83 but for black Delawareans it was 74, and for Hispanic Delawareans it was 66.”
The state ethics committee lowered the age in an attempt to better protect the state’s most vulnerable communities, Rattay said.
She went over the categories of people who will be eligible for the vaccine as part of the second part of phase 1, called 1b, which includes those over 65 and frontline essential workers such as first responders, education personnel, those working in agriculture and food manufacture, manufacturing, correctional workers, U.S. Postal service workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers.
Rattay also warned that not all individuals working in a field considered to be frontline will be offered the vaccine in phase 1b. The vaccine will be given based on risk.
Rattay used the comparison between individuals working in chicken plants are at a much higher risk because they are in close proximity than do private farmers.
Rattay also urged businesses who employ frontline essential worker to begin to figure out they will offer the vaccine to their employees.
For help, employers can go to the state’s website or call the DPH vaccine call center at 1-833-643-1715.
Not all workers will get shots on site. Some businesses, especially manufacturing, often have their own healthcare teams who can administer shots, she said.
Businesses such as childcare centers will likely receive vaccination vouchers that employees can take to pharmacies or vaccination clinics to receive their shots. Some businesses may have closed events with some kind of healthcare partner who will only serve that business that day, she said.
She also said people who work in Delaware in one of these industries, but don’t live here will be eligible to get the vaccine through their employer.
Rattay said many Delawareans work out of state, and it’s assumed that many will get shots through their work and the vaccinations will kind of even out.