“In a perfect world, we would have enough doses of the vaccine to get it to all 3.6 million people in Connecticut right now, however each state is being given a very limited supply, which is why we must take this phased approach,” Lamont said in a statement. The state set the following vaccine eligibility schedule:
- March 1: Expands to the age group 55 to 64
- March 22: Expands to age group 45 to 54
- April 12: Expands to age group 35 to 44
- May 3: Expands to age group 16 to 34
People will still need to make appointments for vaccines. The dates represent the first day appointments can be made — people between 55 and 64 will have to wait until March 1 to make an appointment.
Teachers, staff and professional child care providers can receive the vaccine in March.
Connecticut’s age-based system is a first for the region. New York currently allows vaccines for essential workers and some people with pre-existing conditions. Massachusetts is also taking a more nuanced approach to the vaccination process.
Connecticut routinely ranks among the top five states for vaccinations per capita.
Around 96 percent of all coronavirus deaths in Connecticut were people over the age of 55, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Here are some answers to questions about the recent announcement.
Connecticut partnered with retail pharmacies CVS, Walgreens and Walmart to establish vaccine sites in rural areas of the state as well as communities with a high social vulnerability index as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Those who don’t have internet or face other barriers to self-scheduling can call Connecticut’s COVID Vaccine Appointment Assistance Line, (877) 918-2224. Gifford said there’s an option to hang up but get a call back, though she said DPH may not make all the calls back Thursday. She encouraged people running into technical issues to try back in a couple of hours.
Health care providers conducting vaccine clinics are in the process of reaching out to eligible residents, though the state urges people not to contact their physician or health care provider to set up an appointment.
Hartford HealthCare, the parent company of Backus Hospital in Norwich, noted on Facebook that it was experiencing heavy traffic on its website, and those eligible for the vaccine could schedule an appointment at mychartplus.org.