DE Vaccinations Reach 500,000 Doses as Delawareans 16 and Older are Now Eligible to Register for Coronavirus Vaccine
Delaware’s coronavirus numbers are starting to even out again as the 7-day average of total positive test has dropped from 5.7% on Saturday to 5.5% on Monday. While there were 30 more new positive tests over Sunday – the number of people hospitalized decreased by 27. Delaware Public Health reports one death – a Sussex Countian in their 50s.
While the numbers have decreased some in the past few days, there are still areas of concern statewide – but mainly in the Dover area and New Castle County. In Sussex County – the south central portion is seeing higher numbers – in the Dagsboro, Frankford and Millville areas.
If you look at the vaccine tracker – there have been some changes in the metrics that are now available – there are more numbers available – including the percentage of people fully vaccinated statewide as well as by county. The first vaccine was given on December 16th – to date – over 511,700 doses of a vaccine have been administered – but only just over 164,000 Delawareans are fully vaccinated. That’s about 21.1% of Delawareans 16 and older. In Sussex County that number is 28.8% of Sussex Countians 16 and older have been fully vaccinated. Still a long way from herd immunity.
Delaware has seen several of the coronavirus variants in the state. There are four that are of concern to Delaware Public Health officials, but none of the variants are widespread and the vaccine does provide protection.
Even with the vaccine rolling out, Delawareans who feel ill or have been exposed to someone with coronavirus should get tested. As should anyone who has traveled. They should get tested 3 to 5 days after returning home. DPH Medical Director, Dr. Rick Hong says that even someone who is fully vaccinated can still become infected with the virus and pass it on to someone who is not yet protected.
Delaware moved into a new phase of vaccinations Tuesday – making anyone 16 and older eligible to sign up for the state’s vaccine waiting list and get vaccinations through the state pharmacies. Governor John Carney says that adding this final group will increase the size of the vaccine pool by about 200,000, however about 61,000 doses of vaccine are being administered weekly now – and clearing about 15,000 from the waiting list each week as well.
Public health officials are also looking into expanding the vaccines to those younger than 16, but so far that is still being studied. For those who 16 and 17, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for anyone under the age of 18. Studies are also being done to make the other options available to the under 18 year olds.
Just how protected are you with just one dose of the 2-dose vaccine? Dr. Hong says between 50% and 80% protected, but that second dose puts you much higher than that. However you won’t be fully vaccinated until you are two weeks past your second shot or the one shot of the Johnson & Johnson. As more people are vaccinated and the numbers drop down, Governor Carney’s goal for the 2021/22 school year will be able to start full in-person learning so that students can begin to catch up over what has been lost during the pandemic. Of course that depends on working now to again flatten the curve – wearing your face covering, washing your hands and social distancing – and getting vaccinated.