Delaware has received the remaining 7,800 pre-ordered doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.Delaware, which pre-ordered the Pfizer vaccine, is one of the nation’s first states to receive it.
The initial shipment of 975 doses arrived Monday at Bayhealth’s Kent County campus in Dover.
Elisabeth Cote, a progressive care unit nurse at Bayhealth, was the first in the state to receive the vaccine. On the first day of vaccination, Bayhealth was able to administer 88 doses of the vaccine.
The latest shipment from Pfizer arrived at DPH’s warehouse in Kent County today. The doses are kept at below-freezing temperatures in the state’s ultra-cold storage unit until they are ready to be shipped to their final destinations.
Most of the 7,800 Pfizer vaccine doses will be distributed to the state’s remaining five health care systems (Beebe Healthcare, ChristianaCare, Nemours duPont Hospital for Children, Saint Francis Healthcare, and TidalHealth Nanticoke) within the next 24 to 48 hours.
The first person in Sussex County received the vaccine on Wednesday at Beebe Healthcare, Lewes. Sintia Rodriguez, RN, who works in Beebe’s Emergency Department and behavioral health unit, received the vaccination from Dr. Bill Chasanov.
Beebe received its shipment from the Delaware Division of Public Health just hours before Rodriquez received the first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. A total of five front-line team members received the vaccine on Wednesday.
“This historic moment exceeded all expectations,” said David A. Tam, CEO, Beebe Healthcare. “We have planned and prepared for this, but to witness Beebe’s frontline healthcare workers receive an extra layer of defense against this deadly virus that we all have been battling since March, was truly something special. We know this vaccine is a valuable tool in returning to our pre-pandemic normal. In the coming weeks as more vaccine supplies arrive, Beebe will continue to care for the community. Beebe remains open and safe for all who are in need of care.”
DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, who was on-site when the vaccine arrived in Kent County, said she is excited to see the vaccine’s distribution. DPH is not mandating that health care workers get vaccinated but is strongly individuals to do so.
“This is a historic moment for us in Public Health, and I can’t express how eager I am to get the vaccine into the hands of our partners at the health care systems, so they can start to vaccinate their frontline and essential staff,” said Rattay.“They have faithfully cared for the sickest Delawareans while bravely risking their health and often sacrificing contact with their own families to keep us all healthy and safe. It is our greatest hope that those same health care workers will now care for themselves by receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. It is the best protection we can offer them, and one of the ways we will beat this virus.”
The Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration last week.
The FDA’s advisory committee will meet on Thursday to review manufacturer Moderna’s application for an Emergency Use Authorization.If approved over the weekend, Delaware could receive an initial shipment of 16,700 doses of Moderna next week.
DPH will also receive an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.
An additional 6,825 doses of Pfizer are part of the federal pharmacy program for vaccinating long-term care residents and staff in the coming weeks, bringing the total of Delaware’s Pfizer allotment for the week of Dec. 21, 2020, to 10,725 doses.
The Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is authorized for use in persons 16 and older.The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, individuals who have experienced allergic reactions to other vaccines.
Those who have compromised immune systems should discuss the benefits and risks of taking the vaccine with their medical provider before receiving it.
The vaccine’s potential side effects are similar to those experienced by people who receive the flu shot: soreness at the injection site, fever, headaches, and body aches that usually go away within 24 hours. Unless symptoms worsen or linger, there is no need to seek medical care. Pfizer reported no severe side effects from the vaccine. The FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the vaccine for safety and effectiveness and any long-term or rare side effects.
The Pfizer vaccine has over a 90 percent effectiveness rate. The flu vaccine is generally 40 to 60 percent effective. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain a live virus and cannot give individuals the coronavirus.
The vaccine requires two doses spaced about three weeks apart to be effective. The same brand of vaccine must be administered for both doses. DPH plans to remind individuals to get their second dose of the vaccine by sending reminder letters, providing automated phone calls and text messages, and patient record cards.
DPH is in the process of setting up a Vaccine Call Center, which it expects to be operational starting at 10:30 a.m., Dec. 17. Individuals can email their questions concerning the vaccine toVaccine@Delaware.gov. Individuals can also visitde.gov/covidvaccine for up-to-date information.Myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/will also have data on the vaccine available.