Delaware is among the first states in the nation to begin vaccinating staff at three long-term care facilities.
After receiving 7,800 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at its warehouse in Kent County on Wednesday, DPH worked to deliver the vaccine to the long-term care facilities owned and operated by Genesis Healthcare Inc., based in Kennett Square, PA.
Genesis operates 400 skilled nursing centers and senior living communities in 26 states. The Delaware facilities that received the vaccine are in Dover, Milford, and Seaford. All three locations plan to start vaccinating staff on Thursday.
“We are all relieved to see that this vaccine has arrived at our long-term care facilities to protect Delaware’s most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19,” said Gov. John Carney. “But we’re not through the woods yet. We still face a difficult winter surge of cases and hospitalizations. Stay vigilant until we can widely distribute the vaccine. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with friends or family outside your household. We’ll get through this.”
Residents of nursing homes will be able to begin receiving the vaccine the week of December 28, as part of vaccination efforts under the federal pharmacy program. Walgreens and CVS pharmacists are partnering with facilities to vaccinate residents. While the vaccine is shipped directly to the pharmacies from the federal level, doses come out of each state’s total allocation.
Residents and staff at long-term care facilities have been one of the hardest-hit groups of the pandemic. Residents at long-term care facilities account for 1,736 of the state’s 47,929 positive coronavirus cases as of December 11. Long-term care residents account for 455 of the state’s 833 coronavirus deaths, as of December 11. That is slightly more than half.
“Since March, many of us have not been able to visit with our parents and grandparents as we have tried to protect them from the virus the only tools available to us masks and social distancing,” said state Division of Public Health DirectorDr. Karyl Rattay. “This vaccine not only offers our seniors and long-term staff protection from the virus, it gives us hope that one day soon we will be able to visit with our loved ones again. It also means more of us will be here to celebrate the holidays next year. I am grateful Delaware is able to do this for its long-term care residents.”