Medical director for The Delaware Division of Public Health addresses COVID-19 vaccine efforts and distribution plans
DELAWARE — The Delaware Division of Public Health’s medical director, Dr. Rick Hong answered some questions state residents might have when it comes to when they could receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Doctor Rick Hong says that despite doing well in vaccine distributions compared to other states, the DPH has encountered a few problems along the way, some of which he says they’ve never encountered before.
Dr. Hong says there are processes in place for this vaccine that don’t exit for other vaccines. One being an enrollment process, for providers to be a part of the vaccination process. Dr. Hong continues saying that timing was also an issue, due to the vaccine rolling out around the holidays. He says in part quote, “that many people did not want to get the vaccine around the holidays due to concerns of mild side effects.” He adds that with vacations staffing shortages, it was more difficult to be able to roll out this vaccine in a quick manner.
Dr. Hong says for now, DPH is appreciative for their partners and just wants to focus on getting the vaccine out to those in Phase 1-A in the distribution plan. He says DPH really appreciates, “the health systems, ambulatory offices, pharmacies, urgent cares and EMS agencies to really help us get this vaccine out to as many people as possible, even during the holidays.”
When it comes to when and how the Phase 1B group, consisting of frontline workers and those 65 years and older will receive the vaccine, Dr. Hong says they are looking at many ways to get it to them including pharmacies, urgent cares, primary care offices and more. However, Dr. Hong adds that DPH wants to take advantage of infrastructures in place and currently, they are working with large employers to provide vaccine on-site so that they can vaccinate employees on-site, which is one of the more efficient ways of doing this.
For now he says to look out on social media and news releases for when those individuals can officially get the vaccine. Once DPH does, Dr. Hong says they will provide information on how residents can access the vaccine.