More than 11,000 receive COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware City and Georgetown

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More than 11,000 people were vaccinated over the weekend at mass COVID-19 vaccination events in Delaware City and Georgetown., according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

NEW CASTLE (DE) 01/22/21: The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) vaccinated 11,154 individuals at mass COVID-19 vaccination events held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Delaware City and Georgetown. Those vaccinated included Phase 1B seniors ages 65 and older and Phase 1A health care personnel., according to a news release.

Health officials say the total in Delaware City includes 500 vaccinations Friday, 3,318 Saturday and 2,396 Sunday. In Georgetown there were 2,690 vaccines administered Saturday and 2,250 Sunday.

Appointments were provided to Phase 1B Delawareans 65 and older who had requested vaccination though the state’s new system.

The state has vaccinated more than 21,000 people over the past 8 days. As of midnight, Saturday, Jan. 23, 67,475 administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been reported to the state’s immunization information system.

Delaware’s first COVID-19 case was back in March 2020. The case involved a New Castle County man over the age of 50 who was associated with the University of Delaware community. The individual was not severely ill and self-isolated at home as soon as symptoms appeared. State health officials said at the time that the individual was exposed to another confirmed case of COVID-19 in another state.

Within weeks, Governor John Carney issued the first stay at home order and the closure of all businesses that were not essential. The 975,000 Delawareans who were affected could not leave their homes unless they were going to medical appointments, to get groceries, or to get prescriptions filled.

Lives altered. Changed forever. It stayed this way for many months while state officials worked up a plan. Then we began seeing some relief. Carney then allowed us to go about in public so long we wore face coverings and kept a distance of at least six feet from each other. Still, we couldn’t gather with those outside our household or visit loved ones in hospitals or nursing homes. Businesses were then allowed to reopen with some restrictions, like maintaining a 30% occupancy limit, making sure customers had masks on, and enforcing social distancing.

PHOTO | GEORGE SHEA FOR DELAWARE NEWSLINE

But life as we knew it would never be the same, and it will never return the way we knew it. As we began to accept the new reality, many lost hope and faith. Pandemic depression set in. Some turned to drugs and alcohol, and the fear of the pandemic kept people from wanting to keep themselves healthy, as many neglected to go to the emergency room or doctors out of fear of catching the Coronavirus.

But back in December, we began to see a new glimmer of hope after the FDA approved Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. It couldn’t had came at a better time as more than 782 Delawareans had passed away from COVID-19 complications. Delaware was already facing a new battle. An outbreak at the Delaware correctional centers and long term care facilities which was putting even more seniors at risk who was living with underlying health conditions.

As Delaware released the COVID-19 vaccine plan, many became hopeful. The first phase of the plan included those in healthcare fields, residents, and staff at long term care facilities, and emergency medical services. Delaware then moved to Phase 1B which included Front line workers and those 65 or older. 

According to state officials, “We needed to create a phased plan, because we knew that there would not be enough vaccine supply to vaccinate everyone at once. Also, vaccine rollout takes a lot of planning due to storage requirements, education, training and scheduling to administer not just one – but two doses.”

PHOTO | DHSS

Delaware Newsline went to the Delaware City vaccine event which was held at the DMV on Route 13 on Friday and Saturday.

The biggest complaint was on Saturday as traffic backed up at least two miles on Route 1 Southbound at the Delaware City exit. Route 13 Northbound from DE 72 to the St. Georges Bridge was also backed up. Many, who had appointments were so upset about the traffic and the wait to get a shot, and some left frustrated without even getting their shot.

Officials say that many who are requesting appointments through the CDC Vams system are not completing the pre-screening process, failing to answer all questions or provide a medical history, which then has to be done at the site of the vaccination event which delays vaccine shots for everyone else.

Governor Carney provided some good tips for those seeking appointment requests at future events.

But that wasn’t the only reason for delays, officials reported technical issues and in Georgetown, they were documenting vaccination registrations by paper due to extreme weather which was making it more difficult to record them through the DE Vams system by computer.

Earlier Saturday, Delaware State Police issued a traffic advisory for the Delaware City area as a result of the COVID-19 vaccination event. State Police said at the time, “As a result, South DuPont Highway in the area of Wrangle Hill Road (SR 72), Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway (SR 1) southbound at the Wrangle Hill Road/Delaware City Exit, and Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway (SR1) northbound at the Wrangle Hill Road/Delaware City Exit were expecting delays.”

Police explained in the news release that the delays could be expected to last throughout the day and travelers were asked to seek alternate routes to avoid the area.

Besides the traffic and wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot, we spoke to a few people Saturday afternoon who were about to pull into the DMV lanes where they were administering the vaccine shots. We spoke to Scott Savage from New Castle and he says we should listen to the experts.

“I knew they had to come up with answers, it was just a matter of time. I mean, you know, I think that right now the problem is trying to take the science and not just listen to what people have to say, because half the time they don’t have a clue.”

“You know, the doctors, and the you know, they know what they’re doing, they know what to look for, ya know. That’s what we needed, and now of course, Biden is listening to what the doctors say.,” Savage added.

Photo Courtesy of DHSS

Bill, who lives in Wilmington said, “I think it’s really a wonderful thing, I’m real happy to be here.”

Seniors all across the state have been waiting for this day. A day of hope has finally arrived for Norman Crompton from New Castle, who said he was feeling lucky today.

“Lucky! I’m the only one getting it today, my wife is still on the list. [I] wish everyone could be here.,” “This is the cavalry coming, so I’m really happy to be here.,” he added.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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