'Listening to the scientists': Hundreds in phase 1B receive COVID-19 vaccine at DMV event
Pulling up to a coronavirus vaccine station inside the Delaware City Division of Motor Vehicles, Ronald Krakowski rolled up the sleeve of his camouflage shirt, baring his left shoulder.
As a Delaware Division of Public Health employee quickly jabbed him with a syringe, he gave a thumbs-up.
Krakowski and his wife, Jeanette, have been looking forward to this moment for a month.
Annual flu shot recipients, they didn’t think twice when they received word they could get the vaccine Friday afternoon.
"To me, it's just like getting the flu shot," Ronald Krakowski said. "The scientists said it's safe, and that's good enough for me. We're listening to the scientists, not the politicians."
The Krakowskis aren't alone in their sentiment, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of Delawareans in phase 1B who have signed up to receive the vaccine in the last several days.
Of those who signed up, about 11,500 will receive their first dose this weekend — 500 on Friday and thousands more on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to these residents, all of whom are 65 and older, about 2,000 Delawareans in the phase 1A group who have not previously been vaccinated will receive their first dose.
The Delaware Division of Public Health's chief physician, Dr. Rick Pescatore, said residents’ willingness to be vaccinated has been encouraging. Friday’s event, he said, shows “there's more trust” in the vaccine than when it was first rolled out.
“That’s something we’re happy for, and that we depend upon,” Pescatore said.
While he acknowledged that many remain hesitant about receiving the vaccine, he emphasized its safety — but said he doesn’t want people to hide their fears.
“I want to hear what your concerns are so that I can address them directly,” he said. “Vaccine hesitancy can't be something that we tuck into a corner and act like it doesn't exist. We need to confront it head-on and answer any questions, concerns or reservations that people may have.”
Most of those who received the vaccine Friday expressed no concern.
In an and out of the DMV drive-thru event in about an hour — those who arrived late had to wait a little longer — residents’ messages were largely the same: The vaccine gets the U.S. one step closer to controlling the pandemic.
“For our country’s sake, just bite the bullet and do it,” said 79-year-old Newark resident Paul Piser. “We need everybody to get out there and do it.”
Delaware on Friday reported 714 new cases. The seven-day daily case average, at 652, is the lowest this week that it has been since Jan. 1.
Also the lowest since the calendar turned to 2021 is the number of people hospitalized. That number, through 6 p.m. Thursday, is at 420, down from a peak of 474 on Jan. 12.
The state reported no new deaths Friday.
For more information about the vaccine, where to get it and who is eligible, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine.
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