New Castle County paramedics, police receive COVID-19 vaccines; 60% say they will take it
New Castle County paramedics and police are one step closer to being better protected against the coronavirus after a handful received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine Tuesday morning.
The Delaware Division of Public Health delivered the vaccines to New Castle County on Monday, and the first paramedic was vaccinated around 8 a.m. Tuesday, said Mark Logemann, Emergency Medical Services chief.
This week, 70 paramedics and about 140 New Castle County police officers will be vaccinated. The first responders will receive the vaccines in groups.
"We're seeing about a 60% acceptance rate of the vaccine (in paramedics)," Logemann said Tuesday. "Certainly my hopes are that as the vaccination process moves forward and people become more confident in it, we'll see a higher number of acceptances."
Logemann said he received the vaccine Tuesday morning and is "highly confident" in it. He said he "strongly suggests" that anyone who has the opportunity to be vaccinated do so.
The percentage of New Castle County paramedics who say they will get the vaccine as soon as they can is slightly higher than the general population.
A mid-December poll by research firm Ipsos and ABC News found that 2 in 5, or 40%, of Americans said they would get the vaccine as soon as it is available. Fifty-seven percent of those over 65 said they'd get it immediately.
About 44% of respondents said they'd wait to receive it, but would ultimately get it. A little more than half, 52%, of minority respondents said they'd wait a bit but would also accept it.
The percentage of people who said they would "definitely" or "probably" receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine reached 71% in the Kaiser poll, though researchers did not ask respondents whether their willingness meant they'd receive it immediately or wait.
Gallup found 63% of the population would get it, and Pew reported that 60% said they would definitely or probably receive it.
Officials nationally and locally have been working to combat distrust in the safety of the vaccine, which is higher among minority groups. Many of those same groups have been affected by the coronavirus at disproportionate rates.
To help build trust, in recent weeks, numerous elected officials and public health experts, including leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have publicly received the vaccine.
Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated on Dec. 18, while Fauci received the vaccine early last week. He said he had very minimal side effects from it.
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, were also vaccinated shortly before Christmas, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, received their first doses Tuesday.
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President Donald Trump has yet to receive the vaccine.
The first Delawarean to be vaccinated was Elisabeth Cote, a progressive care unit nurse at Bayhealth Hospital's Kent Campus. She got it Dec. 15.
Since then, other state health care workers and first responders, including Kent County paramedics, have received it.
Gov. John Carney has called the vaccinations "a moment of hope for Delaware and for our country."
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