a plate of food on a table

State says all over 18 and older need COVID-19 booster shots

Betsy PriceHeadlines, Health

a plate of food on a table

With Thanksgiving arriving, the state has recommended people get tested before gathering with others from another household or from out of state. Photo by Monstera/Pexels

The state of Delaware said Friday that all Delawareans 18 and older should get a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Early this week the state also offered guidelines to have a healthy Thanksgiving gathering as the pandemic continues and new cases and hospitalizations creep up slightly.

First, of course, was to be vaccinated. Right now, 60% of eligible Delaware residents are fully vaccinated. That equals 542,663 people.

On Friday, the Federal Drug Administration said anyone vaccinated six months or more ago should get a booster. That’s a change from previous recommendations that only those 65 and older or those who had health issues should get a booster.

Studies show that boosters don’t just top off immunity, but elevate beyond the peaks it had reached before, the state said in a press release.

Boosters were recommended after the Delta variant showed that immunity wanes over time.

“Having this tool in our arsenal can help us in holding off another winter surge that could come with people gathering inside more often as the weather turns colder,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health.

Vaccines for first, second, third and booster doses are widely available throughout Delaware at pharmacies, hospitals and more. For more information about how to find one, go to de.gov/getmyvaccine.

The state warned this week that testing and vaccination site hours will change next week for the holiday:

  • All Public Health clinics that offer vaccinations will be closed Nov. 25, which is Thanksgiving, and Nov. 26.
  • Walgreens will be closed for COVID-testing starting Wednesday, Nov. 24.
  • Standing vaccine sites at the Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover, Canby Park in Wilmington, Georgetown Plaza in Sussex and Oxford/University Plaza in Newark will be closed for vaccinations from Wednesday through the weekend.
  • Howver, those sites will be open for testing on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be made at de.gov/gettested
  • The state COVID-19 Call Center will be closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but will answer e-mails to [email protected] beginning Friday, Nov. 26. The Call Center will resume answering both e-mails and calls to 1-866-408-1899 on Monday, Nov. 29.

As of Nov. 18, more than 83% of the state’s adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data. In contrast, unvaccinated persons continue to drive case rates and hospitalizations.

During the week of Nov. 1 – Nov. 7, 82% of Delaware’s hospitalizations were among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people, the state said.

Getting children, especially those ages 5 –11 who are newly eligible for the vaccine, vaccinated with their first dose prior to the Thanksgiving holiday is a good way to ensure they are protected, the state said.

The state also recommended people:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 before celebrating with multiple households or people from different parts of the country.
  • The unvaccinated should be tested before attending events.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or had close contact with someone who has it, stay home.  Do not host or attend a gathering.
  • Smaller gatherings are better than larger gatherings to enable you to social distance from those who are not vaccinated.
  • Wear a face mask. Unvaccinated family members, including children ages 2 years and older, should wear a mask in all indoor public settings.  People with a weakened immune system, who are at increased risk for severe disease, should also mask up.
  • Communicate COVID-19 ground rules to invited guests, including expectations around testing before or after gathering, vaccination or masking requirements.
  • Gather outdoors when possible. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. Getting together for a holiday walk, flag football game, picnic, or virtual cocktails are fun alternatives to an indoor sit-down meal.
  • Do not travel unnecessarily unless you and your companions are fully vaccinated.

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