Delaware ends its vaccine waiting list

A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to a person at a vaccination site setup

A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to a person at a vaccination site setup at a Salvation Army location in Philadelphia, Friday, March 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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In late January, when vaccine supplies were limited, Delaware health officials used a waiting list to prioritize distribution of the shots to people over the age of 65. As supplies grew more plentiful, that waiting list was expanded to include younger Delawareans and others at higher risk for infection and worse outcomes.

Since Jan. 20, more than 200,000 Delawareans have signed up for the waiting list. Using the list to send residents to drive-through vaccination sites and other large-scale events, the state administered nearly 100,000 shots. Its vaccine partner Curative used the list to administer more than 55,000 shots in connection with Delaware Technical Community College.

“The waitlist was a critical tool for allowing us to assess demand for vaccine and to match limited doses with those most at risk from COVID-19,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. “Now that we are in a situation of more plentiful vaccine and open eligibility, we no longer need to screen and prioritize invitations to appointments.”

Health officials believe most people still on the list have already been vaccinated elsewhere. The state will now pivot to urging residents to get their shots at pharmacies, medical providers, hospitals, and public health clinics.

“We can focus on letting people know the multiple ways they can get vaccinated with or without an appointment,” Rattay said.

The state’s vaccine website has been revamped to include information about all the places residents can get a shot. People can also call the DPH Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 (option 3) for help finding the vaccine.

As of May 6, more than 785,000 vaccine shots have been administered in Delaware. That means about 54% of all residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 40% of those over 16 have been fully vaccinated.

With vaccination numbers rising, Gov. John Carney announced plans this week to relax coronavirus restrictions that have been in place since last year. Delaware restaurants, stores, churches, and other businesses will no longer have capacity restrictions starting May 21 as long as they follow reduced physical distancing requirements.

Currently, most establishments are limited to 50% of capacity — a rule that has been in place for months. The current distance of 6 feet now required to prevent COVID-19 transmission will be lowered to 3 feet on May 21.

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