Governor John Carney rolled up his sleeves to get his COVID-19 booster shot at the Walgreens in Wilmington on Thursday.
The governor got the Moderna booster, which is half a dose. The governor was first vaccinated in March at a state drive-thru clinic at Dover International Speedway. He previously received the Moderna series with two doses.
“That was so much better than the last one. Man, I’m telling you, I didn’t even feel it,” he told the Walgreens tech, then gave her a fist pump.
The governor is eligible for a booster shot due to his age, and he hopes others who are eligible will follow suit. While he said vaccination rates are high among people over 65, they have been slower to take the booster shots. Just under 42% got a boost, according to the state’s vaccine tracker.
As we move into the holiday season, where get-togethers are more common, Carney said it’s important to get a boost.
“We’re going into the holidays, we know people will get closer together, and that’s why we’re concerned. If you follow our numbers day by day, they are now rising, so I was hoping it would be below 100,” he said.
But Thursday, Nov. 18, Delaware added nearly 318 cases of COVID-19 to a seven-day moving average, according to the state’s coronavirus tracker. Hospital admissions are at 155 with 18 individuals listed as seriously ill. Delaware’s positivity rate is 6.6%.
“Given the High” [case] now, we encourage people to get vaccinated. Being fully vaccinated will give you a boost if you qualify,” the governor said.
While some states have already started authorizing booster shots for everyone, regardless of age, Delaware continues to follow CDC guidelines. This week, the CDC is expected to open Pfizer booster injections to anyone who received their two-dose series at least six months ago.
Currently, in Delaware, people over age 65 are eligible for booster shots, along with those who are immunocompromised or those who hold forward-looking public jobs, if they received their two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or the single-shot the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
“We are excited” [the CDC] to do that,” Carney said. “I’m a little bit cautious about getting ahead of the CDC because one of the biggest challenges of the past 20 months has been maintaining a level of public trust, and we’ve always said consistently we follow the science or the experts, and so I don’t want to get ahead of the experts when it’s on the horizon, which it appears to be,” Carney said.
Sixty percent of Delaware’s eligible population, or 538,379 Delawareans, is fully vaccinated.
Of these, breakthrough cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 6,234 Delawareans or 1.16% of the fully vaccinated population.
Carney said too many Delawareans seem to be off guard, and as we head into the holiday season it could get even more dangerous.
“A lot more people are getting vaccinated, but people have also been a bit wary. Places where I go to the Wawa regularly to get my coffee, you go in there, most people wear their masks. Other places you go in, in, where people need to be more careful, nobody wears a mask,” Carney said.
Vaccination rates among one of the state’s most challenging age groups, young adults ages 18-35, fluctuate between 50-60%. Of those 12 years and older, 73% have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine.
Delaware’s vaccination coverage among youth remains too low for public health officials.
“About 57% of that age group has had one dose. Only 50% have been fully vaccinated, so that means about half of our adolescents are still not fully vaccinated — so that’s a lot of kids in our high schools and a lot of high school students.” schools,” says Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Department of Public Health.
Out of 5 to 11 residents, as many as 5,000 children in Delaware have been vaccinated.
“That’s only about 6% of that population, so while we’re really happy that our 5-11 population now has access, we’d really like to see those numbers keep increasing because that’s the age group in our state at this point.” moment, which has the highest cases of COVID. So we see it spreading, we would really like to stop that spread,” said Dr. rattay.
Rattay noted that the number of positive cases among young people aged 5 to 17 rose 16% from last week. She attributed the spike to Halloween parties.
In the lead up to Thanksgiving and the weeks after, Carney said he will be keeping a close eye on hospital admissions.
“That number of hospital admissions is not as high as what you would expect it to be given where the positive case count is now over 300…it’s higher than we want it to be for sure, but a lot lower than what our hospital resources emphasize. to treat people.
But he was hesitant to say what threshold the state would have to reach to see renewed restrictions or mandates.
“Gosh, I hope not. It’s going to be one of the tougher decisions we have to make because people are doing the opposite now, right? If you can’t get people to follow what you ask of them, you’re not going to make any progress. Especially if you asks something, and they push it back. And so we’re kind of in that space now, where we see a lot of parents who don’t want their kids to have to wear masks in schools,” he said. “So that’s an indication from where people are, and they are a little tired. Even people who are cautious – which is the majority of people in our state – think well, ‘I just have to find a way to live my life normally with this present’. So I hope we don’t get to that point.”