Making the pitch: State leaders get their vaccine and urge Delawareans to follow suit

ChristianaCare's Dr. Marshala Lee gets her COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. (Div. of Public Health screenshot)

ChristianaCare's Dr. Marshala Lee gets her COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. (Div. of Public Health screenshot)

President-elect Joe Biden is the latest Delawarean to make a public show of getting the COVID-19 vaccine as part of an effort to convince the public that it’s safe. Biden got his shot at ChristianaCare near Newark Monday afternoon.

“We owe these folks an awful lot. The scientists and the people who put this together, the frontline workers, the people who were the ones who actually did the clinic work, it’s just amazing,” Biden said as he rolled down his sleeve. “I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared, when it’s available, to take the vaccine.”

President-elect Joe Biden fist bumps with nurse practitioner Tabe Mase after receiving his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, as Jill Biden looks on. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In an effort to get more residents comfortable with the vaccine, the Division of Public Health (DPH) is distributing a series of videos on social media from state leaders who’ve been vaccinated. The basic message is “we got the vaccine and so should you.”

Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester appeared in a video over the weekend after getting her vaccine. “To reach the other side of this pandemic, we’re going to need everyone to learn the facts about the vaccine, and to get vaccinated too,” she said in a video posted on the state Division of Public Health’s Facebook page.

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“It’s about protecting yourself, your loved ones and everyone in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware. He joined Blunt Rochester and fellow U.S. Sen. Chris Coons in the video.

“Don’t forget, even as vaccines begin to be distributed, we can’t let our guard down,” Coons said.

In addition to the federal delegation, a more diverse group of community leaders are also lending their voices to the effort to encourage trust in the vaccine and urge people to take it.

Maria Matos, who has led the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington since 1994, posted videos with DPH in both English and Spanish. “I’m getting the vaccine because I trust the science,” she said.

In another video, health care workers who are members of the Delaware chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women are shown receiving the shot.

The campaign to boost confidence in the vaccine comes as Delaware is expected to receive nearly 20,000 doses this week. Nearly 17,000 doses are headed to the state from Moderna, which got Emergency Use Authorization approval from the FDA for its vaccine Friday. Another 2,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected in the state this week as well.

The state unveiled its four-phase distribution plan last week, and rolled out a vaccine hotline to answer any of the public’s questions.

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Health care and EMS workers are among the first to start getting vaccinated in the state. Staff and residents at long-term care facilities, where the virus has been especially deadly, are also eligible for doses in the first round.

Workers in critical industries like food processing, utilities, education, police, and fire can get their vaccines in the second round in early 2021. People who live in correctional facilities or homeless shelters, along with those 65 years or older, or who have certain underlying health conditions, will be in round two as well.

State health leaders say the general public won’t be able to get their shot of the vaccine until spring or summer of next year.

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