Two cartons filled with COVID-19 vaccine brought the state’s top public health officials out to a Kent County loading dock on a cold, snowy day.
Two days after the first of Pfizer BioNTech’s vaccine arrived at Bayhealth’s Kent County Campus, the state got its shipment of 7,800 doses
“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 Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. She and Dr. Rick Hong, DPH’s medical director, were on hand when it arrived.
“They have faithfully cared for the sickest Delawareans while bravely risking their own 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.”
A Bayhealth nurse, Elisabeth Cote, was the first to get vaccinated in Delaware, receiving her shot Tuesday morning. Bayhealth, which got 975 doses, was able to administer 88 doses, the health system reported.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, so those who receive it this week will need to be vaccinated again the first week of January to be fully covered.
The vaccine must be 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 them will be distributed to Beebe Healthcare, ChristianaCare, Nemours duPont Hospital for Children, Saint Francis Healthcare, and TidalHealth Nanticoke within the next 24 to 48 hours. the state said in a press release.
Pfizer’s 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, the press release said. DPH will also receive an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week for its use, as well as 6,825 Pfizer doses for the federal pharmacy program that will vaccinate long-term care residents and staff.
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) are advising women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, individuals who have experienced allergic reactions to other vaccines and those who have compromised immune systems should discuss the benefits and risks of taking the vaccine with their medical provider before receiving it.
The potential side effects from the vaccine 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.
The Pfizer vaccine has better than a 90% effectiveness rate in its trials.