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DPH signs off on all three vaccine booster shots

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The Delaware Department of Health has authorized the “mix and match” of all three vaccines, days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration signed off on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DHSS

DOVER The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today that Delaware’s vaccine providers can begin administering booster doses for vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to certain populations, allowing for a “mix and match.”

The announcement comes days after the U.S Food and Drug Administration allowed it to expand the emergency use authorization for both vaccines. The FDA also gave approval to medical providers to administer boosters of any vaccine brand to individuals regardless of the brand vaccine they originally received. Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine received booster authorization last month. DPH estimates that 365,000 people in Delaware are eligible for booster shots under this new guidance.

“Not surprisingly, we have seen signs that the vaccine wanes over time and getting a booster is key to increasing protection against severe disease and death,” DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. “Now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal. Those who are eligible should get their booster, and those who are not yet vaccinated should make this their number one priority.”

Based on CDC recommendations for individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People aged 18 and older who live in long-term care settings
  • People 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions, which include but are not limited to: cancer, chronic heart, lung and kidney diseases, dementia, diabetes, down syndrome, HIV, overweight and obesity, pregnancy, organ transplants, and stroke.
  • People 18 and older who work or live in high-risk settings, including health care workers, teachers and daycare staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others.

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago. For convenience, eligible people may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

According to CDC, while data show vaccines remain effective in preventing hospitalization and severe disease, a booster shot will help provide continued protection against severe disease in these populations who are especially at risk for severe COVID-19, including those over 65, residents of long-term care facilities, and persons 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions. DPH is encouraging individuals in these most at-risk categories to seek booster vaccines first. 

In Delaware, there are 529,871 residents fully vaccinated and 45,687 people who received the booster shot as of Oct. 5. There are 61,937 people who are partially vaccinated, or who received one dose of a two-dose vaccine. The state has 334,164 doses remaining, which DPH spokeswoman Mary Fenimore said was enough to accommodate those who qualify under the new guidance. DPH continues to wait for news regarding the next age group from the CDC, although it is estimated that those guidelines may come in November.

COVID-19 vaccine providers in Delaware may begin administering booster doses immediately or as soon as they are able. Members of the public who are eligible for a booster shot are recommended to seek vaccine at existing vaccine sites, including pharmacies, health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients), and standing DPH Vaccine sites:

  • Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901
  • Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947
  • Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805
  • University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702

For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.

 

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