Governor orders Delaware vaccine providers to fix race reporting, as disparities emerge
Vaccination providers in Delaware are now required to report complete demographic information to the state within 24 hours of administering a dose, Gov. John Carney announced Thursday.
This comes as a result of Black and Latino residents making up only a small percentage of Delawareans who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Failure to comply with data reporting may result in fines for providers and reductions in vaccine allocation, according to the order.
Carney mandated that health care providers and pharmacies must provide free vaccines.
The governor also expanded capacity requirements for restaurants and some businesses.
Earlier this week, Delaware Online/The News Journal reported that early state data showed a striking racial disparity in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. And a significant chunk of the data was missing because some providers did not collect race data or input it correctly – despite this data point being a required component of vaccine reporting.
Of the more than 100,000 doses administered, 38% of recipients were white, 4% were Black, 2% were Hispanic/Latino and 1% were Asian, according to data from the Division of Public Health.
"Another/multiple” was labeled as the race or ethnicity for about 23%. Plus, the race of 31% of recipients was unknown.
“We are very concerned we are not reaching all Delawareans in an equitable way," Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, said during a press briefing this week.
“These numbers are not OK with us."
Only 7.4% of people ages 65 and older who signed up for a vaccine dose through the state's registration site are African American, while 1.6% are Latino, Rattay said.
COVID-19 IN DELAWARE:Where we're at and where we're going
Carney and health officials announced this week that the state will expand its COVID-19 vaccine distribution program to better target communities of color.
This includes working with the Wilmington Housing Authority to vaccinate residents age 65 and older who live in high-rises for older adults, officials said. Select pharmacies have also received 4,000 doses this week with the purpose of vaccinating underserved communities.
The governor also announced Thursday that, beginning Feb. 12, the occupancy of retail locations, gyms, houses of worship, arts venues and other businesses cannot exceed 50% of the stated fire capacity.
For most restaurants, gyms and retail locations, this is an increase from the previous 30% requirement. Houses of worship were previously limited to 40% capacity.
The order also allows youth and amateur sports tournaments to resume with a plan approved by the health department.
Delawareans who travel out of state for sports competitions are strongly encouraged, but no longer required, to self-quarantine.
Are you 65 or older? Sign up for the State of Delaware’s vaccination waiting list at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov. You can also call the Vaccination Call Center at 833-643-1715.
Staff writer Brandon Holveck contributed reporting to this article.
Contact Meredith Newman at (302) 324-2386 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @MereNewman.