Released: April 2, 2021
Delaware County is now seeing an increasing weekly supply of vaccines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH). This week, as with last, the County received 7,000 Moderna vaccines and 2,340 Pfizer vaccines. In addition, on Wednesday PA DOH announced that Delaware County, as well as the three other Southeast Pennsylvania counties—Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery—would each begin receiving 10,500 doses of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine every week going forward.
"We are happy with the recent decisions by the PA Department of Health and Acting Secretary Beam, and we're excited that this significant increase in the vaccine supply allocated to Delaware County—which more than doubles the doses we're receiving—will prove to be a turning point in this long battle with COVID," announced Delaware County Council Chairman Brian Zidek.
In total, Delaware County will be vaccinating upwards of 20,000 individuals per week.
“This is a turning point. We appreciate that the Pennsylvania Department of Health was willing to listen to our needs and trust our medical countermeasures plans,” said Councilman Kevin Madden, adding “We are grateful to our legislative delegation for advocating for this result."
The significant influx of vaccine is due, in part, to increased vaccine production by Johnson and Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer. The increased supply coming to Delaware County is also attributable to this week’s unexpected decision by PA DOH to reverse its earlier plan to funnel vaccine doses to what would have been a new State-run PEMA mass vaccination site, and instead adopt the vaccination plan preferred by Delaware County and the other Southeastern Pennsylvania (SE PA) counties, in which the counties will be responsible for the bulk of vaccinations. With the PEMA site plan for SE PA shelved by PA DOH, Delaware County will receive vaccine doses directly from the State and will be the single largest dispenser of COVID-19 vaccines going forward.
"The increased supply promised by Acting Secretary Beam will enable us to open our long-planned community-based mass vaccination site, which we will operate in addition to our five County-based vaccination sites that are already operating at full-capacity and have been doing an amazing job for months," said Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer.
Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor praised the hard work of the people of Delaware County, stating, "County Council is confident we're up to the task at hand, and we are so grateful for the amazing work being done by our COVID-19 Task Force, Delaware County Emergency Services, the Delaware County Medical Reserve Corps and the Citizen Corps and their thousands of volunteers, not to mention the various departments and agencies that have helped us already vaccinate tens of thousands of people here in Delaware County."
The County, including County employees, contracted employees, and thousands of volunteers, have been hard at work vaccinating thousands of residents each week and are eager to meet the challenge of expanding their effort even further to vaccinate 20,000 people a week for months to come.
This week’s PA DOH announcement also included more good news, directing PA counties to aggressively transition from Phase 1A (those 65 and older, and 16-64 with certain underlying health conditions) to Phase 1B by Monday, April 5, followed by Phase 1C on Monday, April 12, and then finally opening up eligibility to all adults by Monday, April 19.
This move to Phase 1B, in combination with increased vaccine supply, means that Delaware County will now be able to maintain vaccinations at the five county-based sites (already operating at full capacity in Aston, Chester, Springfield, Radnor, and Yeadon) and move to swiftly open new sites, including one or more mas vaccination sites, following carefully developed medical countermeasures plans.
With sufficient and consistent quantities now coming from the State, the County is confident that it will be able to vaccinate the bulk of the remaining Phase 1A residents, as well as those in the remaining phases that are soon set to become vaccine-eligible (1B, 1C, and all adults post-1C), quickly and efficiently.
Councilwoman Christine Reuther clarified that the County would continue to work to ensure an equitable distribution of vaccine, with an eye on the remaining Phase 1A individuals, underserved and at-risk communities, stating "The State Department of Health’s decision to send the Johnson and Johnson vaccine directly to the County will be a huge help in enabling us to vaccinate our most vulnerable residents, including those who are homebound, homeless, or incarcerated."
The County estimates that less than 50,000 Phase 1A individuals are still interested in receiving the vaccine and we hope that a significant number 1A individuals will be able to schedule their appointment with the doses that are available over the next few weeks. To be clear: Phase 1A individuals are still eligible to receive the vaccine and the County will continue to provide assistance to individuals who have not had success in scheduling their appointment to-date.
Beginning next week, the county will update its website and release new information with specific steps that Phase 1A and 1B residents will need to take to schedule an appointment. Dates, times, links, and vaccine types will be made clear.
With the Federal government’s planned expansion of its pharmacy-based vaccination network, we anticipate that all adults interested in receiving the vaccine will be able to do so with minimal wait. All Delaware County adults will have easy access to the vaccine through many providers, including not only the County of Delaware sites, but through existing health partners, including pharmacies, hospitals, and other official State-endorsed distributors.
Delaware County Council and the Delaware County COVID-19 Task Force have partnered with community organizations across the county to launch the Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This new program will help ensure that any homebound individual who cannot safely leave their residence can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 Task Force expects the program will vaccinate up to 500 homebound residents per week. A direct caregiver can also qualify to receive a vaccination. Language assistance is available.
The critical work of identifying homebound individuals by county agencies—including the Department of Human Services, the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA), the Office of Behavioral Health, and the Office of Intellectual Disabilities—and by community partners is an ongoing process. The Task Force welcomes additional input from local organizations to help identify individuals for the program.
Individuals can call the Delaware County COVID-19 Call Center at (484) 276-2100, or by email email@example.com, to add themselves, a homebound loved one or friend to the “Homebound Roster” for an on-site at-home vaccination. Information needed includes the name of the person to be vaccinated, a phone number, zip code, and an email if applicable.
Homebound individuals who have already pre-registered with Delaware County for the vaccine at a County vaccination site but now prefer to receive a vaccination in their home must contact the COVID-19 Call Center to ensure that they are placed on the Homebound Vaccination Program’s “Homebound Roster”.
Delaware County will be making tens of thousands of vaccine appointments in the coming weeks and will continue to expand the number of appointments as vaccine supplies allow. Details, including the location, times, and links to the online Vaccine Appointment process will be released soon.
Despite the good news, it should be noted that the Chester County Health Department and the PA DOH are monitoring the uptick in cases and hospitalizations, and the data shows variant strains are spreading. The importance of masking and following COVID protocols continues to be extremely important and we ask Delaware County residents to continue to act responsibly to help ensure that we can put COVID behind us.