Delaware County’s March 19 Update on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

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Released: March 19, 2021

Delaware County Government is beginning to see a slight increase in vaccine supply. Delaware County Council continues to advocate for more COVID-19 vaccines for Delaware County residents and has called on the Pennsylvania Department of Health to work with the County to ensure an equitable distribution of the vaccine.

On March 17, County Council participated in a call with the Commissioners in neighboring counties and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Acting Secretary of Health Allison Beam provided an update that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to be available on April 1. The Southeastern Pennsylvania region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties) is expected to receive 42,000 doses a week, to be shared among the four collar counties.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health asked the four counties to decide on one shared site to administer the 42,000 doses weekly. The four counties offered an alternative plan to the State, asking the State to instead send the vaccines to each of the counties and allow each county to administer the vaccine. In addition to increased efficiencies by using sites already established, this plan would also ensure greater equity in vaccine distribution. Offering only one site for four counties is not practical for most residents and will further exacerbate the issue of public health inequity.

On March 18, the Pennsylvania Department of Health denied the alternate plan proposed by Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties to each respectively host their own sites. The State proceeded to ask the counties to identify two sites for consideration by the State for a single regional vaccine site. This single site would administer 42,000 doses weekly and would serve as the primary vaccination site for over 400,000 residents combined from the four counties.

Council members and Commissioners expressed that they were extremely disappointed to hear that the Pennsylvania Department of Health was not considering the request to allocate the Johnson and Johnson vaccine directly to each county. They reiterated their concerns about establishing one regional site for many reasons and expressed that they remain deeply concerned that equitable distribution will be compromised at such a site. In a joint statement, the Council members and Commissioners stated “Instead of working with local elected officials and county Health Departments closest to the people we serve, the State has chosen to take the advice of a Boston logistics company to establish regional sites as our local mass vaccination sites sit underutilized. We have highly qualified public health and safety teams in place, high-volume locations secured, and more than 400,000 people waiting on our collective lists to get their shots.”

Recognizing that the decision will be made by the Pennsylvania Department of Health—and in order to meet its requirement that the four counties provide two sites acceptable to all of the counties— Bucks County and Montgomery County agreed to identify a joint site and Chester County and Delaware County agreed to identify a joint site.

Delaware County and Chester County have identified a location for the joint Delaware County/Chester County vaccination site. The counties sent this recommendation to the Pennsylvania Department of Health by March 19 as requested.

An update on plans for this regional site, which will be run by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) will be announced once the plan is finalized by the State. The County will not be involved in scheduling or administering vaccines at that site.


Current Vaccination Efforts

Delaware County continues to work through the list of people in Phase 1A who have preregistered with the County. The County is focused on vaccinating those age 65 and older.

Delaware County Government has five County-operated vaccination sites that are currently operational. The County, in partnership with Crozer Health, began COVID-19 vaccinations at Springfield Hospital on March 15. The County, in partnership with Penn Medicine, began administering the Pfizer vaccine on Feb. 26 at Penn Medicine in Radnor. The County, in partnership with Keystone First and in collaboration with the City of Chester, opened the Keystone First Wellness Center in Chester on Feb. 25. The Delaware County Wellness Center in Yeadon and the Aston Community Center opened in January.

All five sites are by appointment only. People interested in receiving a vaccine through Delaware County Government can fill out the pre-registration form online: https://delcopa.gov/vax

Those who have preregistered will be contacted to make an appointment by email or phone when there is vaccine available. Residents are reminded to cancel their appointment if they choose to receive the vaccine at another location after they have already made an appointment with the County.

Delaware County held a large community vaccination clinic on March 14 at Upper Darby High School. A total of 1,260 first doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered to residents of Upper Darby and surrounding communities over the course of nine hours. All vaccinated residents were high-risk Phase 1A individuals from under-served communities. The community was identified as being a very densely populated section of the county and with high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Over 150 Delaware County staff and volunteers from the Citizen Corps of Delaware County, COSA and Upper Darby School District contributed to the effort, which to-date has been the County’s largest one-day COVID-19 vaccination effort. The clinic was a great success, and the County continues to form and strengthen partnerships with organizations throughout the region and is prepared to open additional clinics as the supply of vaccines increase.


An Update on Vaccine Supply

This week, the County received 7,000 doses of Moderna and 2,340 doses of Pfizer. There was a slight increase in Moderna from last week’s allocation. The County has not yet received confirmation on how many vaccines it will receive next week.

Currently, there are an estimated 246,680 people in Delaware County who are in Phase 1A and eligible to receive the vaccine. As of March 19, 110,020 people have been vaccinated in Delaware County.

Residents are reminded that the process to register for the COVID-19 vaccine varies by provider and there is not a centralized vaccine registration from the State. We understand that this can be confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating for residents.

A list of all COVID-19 vaccine providers in the county can be found here: https://www.delcopa.gov/covid/vaxsites.html


Resources

Residents can call the Delaware County COVID-19 Call Center if they have COVID-19 related questions including information on vaccines and testing. The COVID-19 Call Center is open Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. In addition to responding to phone calls, the Center will also respond to emails.

The phone number is: (484) 276-2100. The email is: Covid19Resources@co.delaware.pa.us

The Delaware County Library System reminds residents that they can use a hot spot at one of the member libraries to gain access to the internet to search for available vaccine or testing appointments or research information relating to COVID-19. Hotspots are available for residents with a library card at no charge from any of the Delaware County libraries. They may be borrowed for three weeks and can be used to connect a computer, phone, or other mobile devices to the internet. A hold can be placed by calling Delaware County Libraries at (610) 891-8622 or by clicking “Request It” from the catalog at https://bit.ly/hotspots100. Residents who need a library card may apply online at https://charlotte.delco.lib.pa.us/selfreg, call Delaware County Libraries at (610) 891-8622, send a request with their name, address, phone number, and birthday via email to support@delcolibraries.org, or visit a branch in-person to request one.

While Delaware County continues to serve the community at the public vaccine locations, plans are moving forward to begin the work of getting vaccines to county residents who are unable to leave their homes. If you are a Delaware County resident who is homebound or know of a county resident who will need to receive their vaccine in their home, please contact the Delaware County COVID-19 Call Center at (484) 276-2100, or by email at Covid19resources@co.delaware.pa.us to be added to the list of residents who will be served by this program. Information needed includes the name of the person to be served, a phone number, zip code, and an email if applicable. Work to identify these individuals has already begun with our community partners and county agencies, and more information will be available soon.


A Reminder

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.



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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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