Delaware to expand vaccinations to everyone 16 and older next week – The News Journal

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All Delawareans 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on April 6.

Vaccines will be available at pharmacies, community vaccination sites and mass vaccination events, according to an announcement from the state.

Delaware had previously committed to meeting President Joe Biden’s directive of making vaccines eligible to every adult by May 1. Tuesday’s announcement will make every adult eligible more than three weeks ahead of that goal date.

Almost 1 in 3 Delawareans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 15.7% of Delaware’s population is fully vaccinated.

The move comes as COVID-19 cases have started increasing again in the state and throughout the region. In the past two weeks, the seven-day average for new cases in Delaware has increased by 44% to 284.6.

As of Sunday, 115 people were hospitalized in Delaware with COVID-19.

Delaware ranks ninth among all states in terms of cases per capita over the past week, according to CDC data. Ahead of Delaware are New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

At the beginning of its vaccine rollout, Delaware focused on protecting front-line health care workers, first responders and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In late January, the state began vaccinating people 65 and older.

The focus on older adults continued until mid-March when the state shifted to finishing vaccinations for teachers and school staff at Biden’s behest. Two weeks ago, the state expanded eligibility criteria to include everyone 50 and older, people with medical conditions that put them at high-risk for severe COVID-19 and more essential workers.

Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been granted emergency use authorization in the U.S. Only the Pfizer vaccine can currently be used for 16- and 17-year-olds. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for everyone 18 and older.

Delaware on Monday announced it is easing its restrictions on outdoor gatherings, allowing up to 150 people at certain venues to attend weddings, funerals, sporting events, concerts and other events.

That announcement takes effect Thursday at 8 a.m. and represents the second set of changes Delaware has made this year to loosen restrictions. Many restrictions, including the state’s mask mandate, are still in place.

This is a developing story.

Contact Brandon Holveck at bholveck@delawareonline.com. Follow him on Twitter @holveck_brandon.

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Delaware to expand vaccinations to everyone 16 and older next week – The News Journal

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