The weekly coronavirus briefings from Gov. John Carney are coming to an end this month.
The governor announced at Tuesday’s briefing that the last weekly briefing would come next week.
Carney said briefings and press conferences would be scheduled as needed. The Delaware Division of Public Health will continue to operate an information dashboard, call center, and Email site to handle the virus and vaccination questions.
Carney cited the declining rate of coronavirus cases and the upcoming end of the state of emergency declaration as reasons for ending the briefings.
The briefings, which got underway in spring 2020, were affected by the persistence of the virus. The briefings were aired online, with state officials and reporters meeting in a socially distanced setting.
The briefings later went all virtual when State Emergency Management Director A.J. Schall tested positive.
The end of briefings comes as the state works to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of having 70% of all adults getting at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
At the Tuesday briefing, Carney said the state needs to get 7,000 people or about one percent of the state’s adult population to meet the goal.
“It’s going to be tight,” Carney said.
A major barrier is the 40% vaccination rate among young adults, Carney noted. By contrast, about 90% of those over 65 have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Long gone, due to a lack of demand, are mass vaccination events, Carney said. Instead, the state’s pharmacies are doing the bulk of the work, with the state and partners holding dozens of small events at DMV sites, lower-income communities, and pop-up sites.
Currently, many of the state’s daily vaccinations are for second Moderna and Pfizer shots.
Carney said a brief halt in administering Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccines and problems at a Baltimore-area plant producing the doses has added to the difficulty of hitting the 70% goal.
In the past, Carney had called the J&J/Janssen vaccine a “game-changer.”
Division of Public Health Director Karyn Rattay said the state might not have seen the degree of reluctance reported in other states regarding the J&J vaccine and actually picked up some surplus doses from another state.
Carney did express concern about health care workers, especially those in long-term care settings who are refusing to be vaccinated.
The governor said he did not yet have an answer to the dilemma.
The situation is complicated by what some view as suspect information regarding immunity. About 11 percent of the state’s population has tested positive for the virus.
While contracting Covid-19 does produce an immune response, public health officials say vaccines better guarantee an ability to resist the virus.