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Delaware to expand vaccine access to residents 16 and older

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The Delaware Division of Public Health vaccinated more than 100 people at a clinic event in Smyrna. The state recently announced it would expand vaccine access to Delawareans 16 and older. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DHSS

All Delaware residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine next week.

Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday morning that the state would open up vaccine access at community vaccination events, pharmacies and the state-run event at Dover International Speedway and Del Tech campuses as of April 6. The state’s waitlist will open at 10 a.m. April 6.

You must be 18 years old to receive either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, while Pfizer is available to people 16 and older.

Invitations to vaccine events are dependent on supply, and will be prioritized through age and other risk factors like medical conditions, according to state officials. Each shot is coveted, as supply is limited and the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses at least 21 days apart, compared to the recently distributed one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Delaware health officials report that 449,293 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date. More than 30% of Delaware’s population has received at least one shot.  

“Today’s announcement means that more Delawareans who want to be vaccinated will have the chance to find a shot,” said Carney, who received his first Moderna vaccine on Sunday, in a prepared statement. “All three of these vaccines are extremely safe, and extremely effective against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. I’d urge all Delawareans to take the first shot you’re offered. That’s how we’ll beat this virus, and get back to spending more time with friends and family.”

Two weeks ago, the Carney administration had walked away from the phased system of vaccine distribution, right as the state was under direction from President Joe Biden to prioritize expanding vaccine access to everyone in America by May 1. That order may be difficult to reach as demand has to keep up with supply, but Carney has been optimistic with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

There are at least 102,252 shots remaining as of March 30, according to Carney.

Meanwhile, the state will continue to focus on vaccinating Delawareans between ages 16 and 64 years of age with moderate and high-risk medical conditions and disabilities. Visit Saint Francis’ Hospital, ChristianaCare, Bayhealth, and Beebe’s websites to sign up if you have a medical condition.

To register with the Delaware vaccine waiting list, visit vaccinerequest.delaware.gov.

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