Clinic facilities

More than 40 Delaware County residents attend first clinic for new COVID boosters

The Delaware County Health Department recently held the first in a series of vaccination clinics featuring the new COVID-19 bivalent mixture designed specifically to fight the omicron family of the virus.

The Yeadon clinic attracted more than 40 people for the Pfizer-BioNTech mix, according to the county.

Staff involved in the vaccination clinic in Yeadon. (Courtesy of DELAWARE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT)

The remaining clinics will be:

• September 26, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Delaware County Wellness Center in Chester, 151 W. Fifth St.

• September 28, 4-7 p.m., 69th Street Terminal at Upper Darby, 6901 Market St.

Delaware County residents interested in receiving the booster are asked to make an appointment at the Chester Clinic. Walk-ins will be welcome while supplies last. Vaccinations at the 69th Street terminal will all be available without an appointment.

To schedule an appointment, go to delcopa.gov/vax and click the “Schedule a COVID-19 Immunization Appointment” button.

The Moderna bivalent formulation is not yet available in county clinics.

The Pfizer-BioNTech formulation is approved for ages 12 and up. Teenagers must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

All shots are free.

Pfizer and Moderna boosters are available at select Delaware County and area pharmacies. For the most up-to-date appointment
availability, visit the Federal Vaccines website at www.vaccines.gov/.

The Health Department reminds Delco residents of these recommendations from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• People over the age of 18 can get a different product for a booster than they got for their primary series, as long as it’s Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

• Youth ages 12-17 may get a different booster product than they got for their primary series, as long as it’s from Pfizer-BioNTech.

• Children 5-11 years old who received a Pfizer-BioNTech primary series should also get Pfizer-BioNTech for a booster.

• Persons 12 years and older can only obtain Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna bivalent boosters. They can no longer get an original mRNA recall.

• Novavax is not approved for use as a booster dose at this time.

For more information, contact the Delco Health Department Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by phone at 484-276-2100 or by
email DelcoWellness@co.delaware.pa.us.

Pandemic over?

In a separate matter, County Health Department Director Melissa Lyon received this statement via email following President Joe’s Biden’s remark during a recent “60 Minutes” interview that the pandemic is finished :

“The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global threat. However, the United States has access to reliable treatments and therapeutics as well as preventive interventions such as vaccines and reliable medical-grade personal protective equipment (masks). There have been many scientific advances in our understanding of COIVD-19 transmission and as a result the pandemic has a less fearsome hold on our society. However, many Americans are still at risk of infection and complications from COVID-19. People who are immunocompromised or who have not experienced a robust immune response to COVID-19 may be at higher risk for infection and health complications. It is recommended that you remain diligent by practicing exceptional hygiene and staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. There are still many unpredictable aspects to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we may experience new variants and outbreaks of infections in fall or winter.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said statistics regarding the number of people receiving the new boosters have not yet been incorporated into state reporting, but are expected to be in the coming weeks.

The Associated Press recently reported that about 4 million Americans participated in the first rounds of inoculations with the bivalent boosters, or about 1.2% of the population.

Vaccination statistics

COVID vaccinations in Delaware County continue at a slow pace, which has been the trend for months in Delco and across the state.

Last week statistics for Delco from the state health department show:

• 602 more residents “fully immunized” for a total of 416,033 over the entire 21-month episode of inoculation opportunities.

• 221 more residents either with a first booster or a third full dose for the immunocompromised for a total of 199,259.

• 124 more residents with either a second booster or a fourth full dose for immunocompromised people for a total of 40,340.

No one who died from any cause is purged from vaccination lists, and the longer this goes on, the more unreliable the category totals are.

The county is ranked fourth in the state for “fully immunized” at 73.3% of the population. Major counties are in the upper 70s.

Delco passed Bucks County for ninth in the state in the first recall/third full shot category at 35.2 percent of residents.

And the standings fall into a three-way tie for 21st for the second recall/fourth full hit category at 7.1% of residents. The national average is 6.5%. The leading counties account for about 12%.

Other Latest Stats

The World Health Organization recently said COVID deaths were the lowest since March 2020 when the pandemic phase began.

While that may be true on a global scale, six Delaware County residents last week, a week-high total, were among the casualties of the disease in the most recent information from the US health department. State. That’s 14 in two weeks.

The state as a whole recorded 128 deaths last week, According to the CDCand continues to post the highest numbers since late spring.

This cumulative total of Delaware County deaths from COVID directly or as a contributing factor is 1,940, according to the state. Last week’s total in the Daily schedules should have read 1934. The state provides death information based on county of residence, but no other details.

It’s unclear how many deaths occurred in Delaware County and how many residents died elsewhere. There is no information from the county health department or medical examiner’s office on this.

A flip-flop

Meanwhile, COVID trend lines for cases and hospitalizations in the second omicron surge have appeared for the first time in months in Delaware County in the latest available state and CDC statistics.

Delco recorded 634 COVID cases from all testing methods in the state’s midweek dashboard update, but the number of hospitalized patients fell to 14.

Delco remains a moderate risk county for COVID according to the CDC’s estimate.

Review of Delco Numbers from the State Health Department’s Weekend Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard:

• 104: more cases than the previous week.

• 89: New cases per 100,000 inhabitants, reflecting the increase and erasing a month of decline.

• 10.9%: positivity rate, up 0.9 points in one week, but still lower than two weeks ago.

• minus 4: Difference in the average daily number of hospitalizations in a week, among the largest declines of the 67 counties.

For Pennsylvania as a whole:

• 729: fewer cases than the previous week, continuing a long decline.

• 102: New cases per 100,000 inhabitants, up slightly. It is not known how this is possible with the drop in the number of cases.

• 14.3%: positivity rate, down 1.3 points in one week, a significant drop.

• plus 4: Difference in the average daily number of hospitalizations in a week, showing a higher number of admissions.

The fine print

In easily comparable measures — new cases per 100,000 and positivity — Delco is still in much better shape than much of the state.

With approximately 580,000 residents, Pennsylvania’s fifth most populous county, Delco’s statistics make up a significant portion of the state’s overall numbers.

The most populated counties are Philadelphia, Allegheny, Montgomery and Bucks.

The Early Warning Dashboard is comprised of statistics only from the nasal swab test, the PCR. At the start of the pandemic phase, this was the dominant form of screening. It’s unclear where it currently stands with the availability of home testing, although the numbers consistently parallel results from all testing methods.

The number of patients hospitalized by COVID remains very low compared to the state as a whole.

Overall, Pennsylvania continues to see only gradual declines in the number of hospitalizations. The most recent is 1,146, down from 1,173 the previous week. The peak of the second omicron surge was around 1,300 people hospitalized.

The midweek report showed 14 patients at Delco hospitals with COVID.

Delco has about 4.5% of the state’s residents, with 1.2% of the total hospitalized.

The wildcard in the calculation is the patient’s choice of hospitals.

national look

The second push of omicron has been going on for about five months. It contained several strains of the original omicron that swept through the population in late 2021 and early 2022.

BA.5 remains the most dominant strain of COVID since its parent, the original omicron.

The highly contagious strain is responsible for nearly 82% of all cases nationwide, and about the same in the mid-Atlantic, but the size of the pie is shrinking, according to CDC information.

A cousin says BA.4.6 gained a bit more ground at almost 12% of cases.

BA.5 hit hard for around nine weeks and pushed the national seven-day case average to 129,889 on July 16.

Since then, the number of cases has fallen, with the latest figure on Saturday of 53,376, well below half of the peak.