Delaware is expecting an increase in its COVID vaccine allotment over the next three weeks.
But even with a vaccine allocation increase, there still looks to be a backlog in getting through this next phase of vaccinations.
Governor John Carney told a virtual town hall audience Tuesday night that White House COVID-19 Task Force coordinator Jeff Zients promised each state on the conference call that more vaccine would be coming.
"Each state will be receiving a 16% increase in their allotment over the next three weeks with some certainty over that. For us, a 16% increase is about 2,500-3,000 or maybe a little bit more," Carney said.
Delaware received about 18,000 doses this week, as it continues to work through the 70,000 Phase 1a and 200,000 Phase 1b Delawareans who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
As of Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Delaware is reporting that 77,924 doses have been administered.
An unannounced amount did go to people who weren’t part of either Phase 1a or 1b. If everyone in those groups agreed to be vaccinated, it would take 540,000 doses to complete the two-shot requirement.
Once Delaware receives its additional vaccine allocation of 21,000 doses weekly, it would take roughly 21 weeks to get through everyone just in the first two phases.
Among the unknowns that could reduce that time are the amount of people who won't get vaccinated and whether production could be increased by Moderna, Pfizer, or any other vaccine manufacturer that gets approved in the future.
Facing vaccine supply issues, Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay stresses there’s value in getting the first dose into more arms before completing the two-step process for others.
"We know from the science that these vaccines are 50 to 80% protective against getting infected, but they're even more protective against death and hospitalizations."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its timeline for administering the second dose in “extenuating circumstances,” and Rattay said that‘s a factor in the state’s decision to focus on first doses.
"Science is suggesting that it doesn't necessarily say it has to be at 28 days. So we want to make it available as shortly after 28 days as we can, but we also want to use this time, when we have such a limited amount of vaccine, to make sure we are offering the most protection to the most Delawareans."
Rattay said while the focus is on first doses, the state does have a plan to continuing administering second doses as well, and that there will be an ordered system to that process.
The state did postpone a Phase 1a vaccination clinic at the Dover DMV Tuesday. WDEL also obtained a letter that went out to first responders, informing them that their second dose appointments had been canceled.
"We're phasing them in based on risk. Those who are in the highest risk in 1a are those providing care for COVID patients. That's how you'll see this roll out, but we want to assure everyone that second doses will be made available to everyone."
Delawareans over the age 65 are still invited to sign up for the state's waiting list, which Rattay said has about 100,000 people on it.
The state will be sending invites to upcoming events to applicants who’ve registered through the state’s system, including those who left Saturday's DMV events due to the extreme waits.