The state’s next vaccine phase to include people 65 and older


DOVER, Del. (AP) – State public health officials have finalized recommendations for the second phase of COVID-19 vaccine delivery in Delaware.

Director of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay said on Tuesday that second-phase recipients will include front-line essential workers and 65 and older people.

The Advisory Committee on Disease Control and Prevention Practice or the Center for ACIP defines front-line essential workers as first responders, such as police and firefighters, school and child care staff, prison staff and workers in grocery stores, food and agriculture, Manufacturing and public transit.

Ratte cautioned that not all people in those groups would get vaccinated as risk exposure should be taken into consideration. He said, for example, that the poultry plant employees would have more difficulty than the farmers in following social guidelines.

A state ethics advisory group voted last week to follow the committee’s recommendations to target essential workers of the front line and people 75 and older in the second round of voting distribution.

But the Department of Public Health opted to reduce the eligibility age from 75 to 65 in Phase 1B based on statewide COVID-related deaths. Officials noted that while the average age of death among whites and Asians is 82 and 83 respectively, the average age of deaths among blacks is 74 and 66 for Hispanics.

“If we went with 75 we would have a real equity issue,” Ratte said.

Vaccination for the Phase 1B group is expected to begin by the end of January.

Meanwhile, officials said Tuesday that 8,422 people in Delaware received the first two doses of the vaccine. Officials are expecting to receive another 14,625 doses from Pfizer and 5,800 from Modern this week.

Elsewhere, authorities in neighboring Maryland reported a total of 36,669 vaccinations as of Wednesday morning, an increase of 8,052 from the previous day. More than half of vaccinations have occurred in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Officials said Maryland’s total vaccine allocation from the federal government through this week would include 140,300 doses of the modern vaccine and 133,575 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Maryland officials have not told when the second phase of vaccine delivery will begin in that state, explaining that they are focused on vaccinating people in the first priority group, including front-line health care workers, first responders, and Long-term care facility employees are included and resident.

Maryland officials have also not said whether they plan to follow the CDC committee’s recommendation to target people 75 and older and front-line essential employees in the second round. A spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health said on Tuesday that Phase II would include individuals “with a high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

As of Wednesday, Maryland officials were reporting 5,681 COVID-related deaths and 1,756 current hospitals.

Delaware officials were reporting 921 deaths and 425 current hospitals as of Tuesday evening.

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