Jan. 22 Update on COVID-19 Vaccinations in Delaware County

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Released: January 22, 2021

People who live or work in Delaware County can now pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine by completing a form found on the Chester County Health Department’s COVID-19 website. Vaccines are free of charge and for people age 16 and older who live or work in Delaware County. The form can be found here: https://chesco.seamlessdocs.com/f/delcovac (link no longer active)

Completion of the form registers a person’s interest in receiving the vaccine, and the information provided helps the Chester County Health Department to place each individual into the Phase 1A, 1B, 1C, and Phase 2 categories. The recent change in Phase 1A groups, announced earlier this week by the PA Department of Health, led the Chester County Health Department to revise its original pre-registration survey.

Under the new categories, all individuals 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination under Phase 1A. The updated phases can be found here: https://chesco.org/4822/COVID19Vaccine

Those conditions are outlined by the CDC here and include: cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); Down Syndrome; heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines; obesity; severe obesity; pregnancy; Sickle Cell Disease; smoking; and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Those over age 65 who previously submitted a form do not need to resubmit a form to be moved to Phase 1A. Those who remain in Phase 1B do not need to resubmit a form if they previously submitted one. Those age 64 and under with medical conditions which place them in Phase 1A must complete a new form to place them into Phase 1A. Everyone who has submitted, or will be submitting a pre-registration form will receive a confirmation of receipt, and will then receive regular updates on the status of vaccine distribution and will be contacted to schedule an appointment once vaccine is available.

Delaware County will be opening a COVID-19 Call Center next week. This new call center will be staffed by people who can help to answer questions and assist those without access to a computer or an email. The phone number to the call center will be released next week.

Vaccine Supply:

Please be patient as vaccine remains very limited. Vaccine supply has not increased for Pennsylvania. The state is still receiving the same limited supply as it was in the beginning of January. In addition, almost half of the vaccine received is being allocated for long-term care facilities which have experienced the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

The Chester County Health Department is processing the impact of the recent changes made by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, moving those over the age of 65 and those 16-64 with certain medical conditions into Phase 1A. This change adds over 94,000 eligible people age 65 and older and adds approximately 80,000 people age 16-64 with certain medical conditions to Phase 1A. Those in Phase 1A account for 40% of the population.

The change in Phase 1A eligibility has not brought additional vaccines to our county. This week, Delaware County received 1,200 doses. The County expects to receive 2,000 next week. The shortage of vaccine is not an issue exclusive to Delaware County. All other regions within Pennsylvania and the nation are affected by the lack of vaccine supply. As of Jan. 22, 16,626 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Delaware County, which is the fourth-highest number of any county in the state, and Delaware County is the fifth most populous county in the state. This number is closely aligned with the state average on a per capita basis.

Transitioning to Phase 1B and Beyond:

Delaware County is committed to ensuring a safe and timely distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination and continues to work with the County’s hospitals and the Chester County Health Department to administer the vaccine as quickly as possible. Delaware County is prepared to respond when there is an increase in vaccine.

Once Phase 1A is complete, the County will vaccinate Phase 1B priority groups. Phase1B includes Childcare Staff, Corrections Staff, County, and Municipal Administration Staff, Educators/Education Staff, Firefighters, Food and Agriculture Staff, Grocery Store Staff, Law Enforcement, Manufacturing Staff, Transit Staff, and U.S. Postal Service Staff. While we do not have a definitive time for advancing into Phase 1B, we are eager to move into that phase once we confirm that Phase 1A is well enough underway, and we are not limited in our vaccine supply.

People who work in fields which fall under Phase 1B and have been registered as a group (such as educators, firefighters, law enforcement, etc.) and now qualify to be in Phase 1A should complete the survey as an individual. Organizations who registered as a group under Phase 1B do not need to take further action and modify or resubmit forms.

The County continues to plan for wider vaccination. Vaccination efforts remain very complex and fluid and rely on the availability of vaccine. The County will open the Delaware County Wellness Center on Jan. 27. The Delaware County Wellness Center, located in Yeadon will serve as a storage and vaccination site. Additional vaccine sites will also be located in Aston and Chester, as well as other locations in the county. More information will be released in the future.

Residents are also encouraged to monitor the Pennsylvania Vaccine Provider Map for other possible locations of vaccine providers in the county: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx

A reminder - vaccination efforts for Delaware County are being coordinated through the Chester County Health Department. On March 19, 2020 Delaware County Council and Chester County Commissioners announced the approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, for Chester County to take the lead on Delaware County’s COVID-19 public health response. The Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement between Chester and Delaware Counties identifies the responsibilities of the Chester County Health Department during the COVID-19 outbreak, which will continue until federal and state partners determine there is no longer a pandemic outbreak. Those responsibilities include coordination of increased testing, case investigation and surveillance, quarantine designations and public health communication.

Vaccine Dosage and Safety:

Currently, there are two authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines which are being distributed throughout Pennsylvania, including in Delaware County. Both vaccines require two doses for full effectiveness. A second shot is given 21-28 days after the first shot in order to provide the most protection against COVID-19.

Vaccines are safe, effective, and a key strategy to protect all residents from serious illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ensured the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. The requirements to show that the vaccines are functional and safe have been met, with a quicker process and an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). More information on the vaccine approval process can be found here: www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines/emergency-use-authorization-vaccines-explained

The COVID-19 vaccine will not be a cure for the virus. It is another tool in the fight against COVID-19. Residents must continue to practice other proven mitigation efforts, including wearing a mask, hand washing, and physical distancing.

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About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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