Delaware County Council and the Delaware County COVID-19 Task Force are urging residents to protect themselves and each other as we travel, gather and celebrate during the holiday season. Residents are urged to be mindful of the ongoing pandemic, continue to follow the guidance of health experts, and get fully vaccinated in order to ensure optimal protection from the virus and remain healthy for the holidays.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) are tracking worrisome trends related to COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations. The County saw a rise in cases after the Thanksgiving holiday and expects to see a concerning rise in cases due to colder weather and the possible impact of emerging variants.
With these trends in mind, we remind residents that vaccines remain the best defense. COVID-19 vaccines are effective in protecting people from getting sick and significantly lower the severity of illness, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among those who have a breakthrough infection.
According to the most recent CDC and PA DOH data, unvaccinated people are six times more likely to suffer from severe illness, nine times more likely to require hospitalization, and 14 times more likely to pass away from COVID-19 complications versus vaccinated people. Additionally, hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered safely with few adverse reactions reported.
Healthy for the Holidays: Boosters
Immunity from COVID-19 has been shown to fade over time and the CDC is recommending that all eligible individuals get a booster vaccine to maintain optimal immunity during the holiday season and throughout the winter season. This includes all individuals who received a second dose of Moderna/Pfizer more than six months ago and all individuals who received a single-dose Johnson & Johnson more than two months ago. Booster shots are available at all Delaware County vaccination sites.
Healthy for the Holidays: Children Ages 5 to 11 and Adolescents
All Delaware County residents ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive a pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The County of Delaware has held several vaccination clinics specifically for children ages 5 to 11 and is now offering pediatric doses of Pfizer at all County-operated/sponsored vaccination clinics going forward.
Healthy for the Holidays: Immunocompromised and Homebound Individuals
Immunocompromised individuals who received their second dose of Moderna/Pfizer or their single-dose of Johnson & Johnson more than 28 days ago are eligible for a 3rd dose and are advised to contact their physician or health care provider for guidance. Homebound individuals who cannot safely leave their home to receive a vaccine are also eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through the County’s Homebound Program. First, second, and third doses, as well as pediatric doses, boosters and the flu vaccine are available through the Homebound Program.
Healthy for the Holidays: Where to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
Delaware County is currently running two COVID-19 vaccination clinics each week at Yeadon and Chester. Residents can schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, including booster shots, through the Delaware County COVID-19 website at delcopa.gov/covid, or by contacting the Delaware County Wellness Line by phone at (484) 276-2100 or by email at DelcoWellness@co.delaware.pa.us. Walk-ins are welcome; however, since both booster and pediatric doses are in high demand, appointments are recommended. Residents who elect to walk in are asked to come to the site no earlier than one hour after the site’s listed start time to help ensure minimal wait times.
Appointments at non-County COVID-19 vaccination clinics are also available. Please check the Federal vaccines website at vaccines.gov for locations and appointments.
Healthy for the Holidays: Testing
Delaware County offers PCR testing at the Delaware County Wellness Center in Yeadon (125 Chester Avenue) on Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at the Keystone First Wellness Center in Chester (1929 W. 9th Street) on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are not required. Residents can call the Wellness Line at (484) 276-2100 for details, the current timeframe for results, and information about rapid testing.
Healthy for the Holidays: Staying Safe for Those Not Vaccinated or Around Unvaccinated People
Residents who aren’t fully vaccinated or plan to be around people who aren’t vaccinated during the holiday season are advised to exercise caution when meeting with friends and family, or gathering in public places such as malls, restaurants, entertainment venues, bus and train stations, and highway rest stops. Masks, hand washing, and social distancing remain powerful tools in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
I scheduled my booster for this past Wednesday at the Keystone First Wellness Center in Chester. I was in utter shock when I showed up and saw a line out the door. And, the big sign said No Appointment Needed. Either way, I got in and out very close to my scheduled time, so I had no reason to complain. I arrived at 4:15pm and I overheard they had serviced 382 people with vaccines and booster shots at that point. That’s far better than the 18 people that showed up a couple weeks ago for the free flu shot or the 18 parents who brought their children for vaccine shots about a month ago. It was obvious not everyone at the Wellness Center were from Chester, but it’s still great to see so many people taking advantage of the Chester facility. I look forward to it being an important part of the overall County Health Department’s arsenal of outreach locations.
GREAT INFORMATION! HOPE CHESTER RESIDENTS GET OVER THERE TO AVOID DYING FROM COVID! CONGRATS ON GETTING YOUR BOOSTER!!!