The state has submitted its "playbook" to the Centers for Disease Control as it prepares for any kind of novel coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine implementation, Delaware Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay said Tuesday.
"We're now at a point where it's critical that we work with a variety of different partner groups," Rattay said. "We have a taskforce that's going to begin weekly meetings, starting this Friday. We have other groups, for example the Hospital Preparedness Coalition and an ethics committee that we're going to be working very closely with, as we complete the components of this plan and enter into the execution phases of our vaccine campaign."
Dr. Karryl Rattay's presentation starts at roughly 28:00 in the video
The state will take a phased approach, as access to any COVID-19 vaccine will be deployed in restricted quantities and officials will need to prioritize access for critical populations, based on recommendations that will come from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Officials will also be getting technical assistance for the Immunization Information System.
"This is going to be a pretty complex piece to this to this campaign. It's going to be really important that we're able to very accurately record the information about which vaccines people receive, where they receive them, are there any side effects, etc.," Rattay said. "So, for us as a state and with our many partners in the state, the expansion of this DelVac system, which many people are familiar with, for this campaign is a critical component of the work we're doing right now."
Rattay also said officials would be keeping an eye on vaccines in clinical trial right now to ensure they were safe for distribution. Governor John Carney said he expected new information on vaccine availability as early as the next couple of weeks.
"All the estimates that I've seen the suggest that it's going to be next week or the week after," Carney said. "Certainly, the sooner, obviously, the better. But in the meantime, we need to continue to take the protective measures to keep Delawareans safe and to keep the spread of the virus down to a minimum-to-moderate-level here in our state."
But states still don't have federal assistance to help with distribution, according to an interview with Senior Vice President for Pandemic Response and Recovery at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials James Blumenstock.
"As it stands now, we do not have any capability to fund the imminent implementation of the plan," Blumenstock said, adding in a CNN interview that the CDC distributed $200 million to states for preparedness and planning, which he said, "certainly would not be sufficient at all for a campaign of this magnitude and duration."
The association has asked Congress for $8.4 billion to help states distribute and administer vaccines to people once they became available.
"Even if the money was appropriated today, it would take time for those funds to reach the jurisdictions that in turn would need it," Blumenstock said.
Reporting from CNN contributed to this report.