Bumpy start for next wave signing up for COVID vaccine; doses on the way expected to unclog appointment pipeline

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It was a bumpy start Monday for the 55 and older group and educators now eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Governor Ned Lamont said this week the state will receive 156,000 doses of the vaccine, up from a month ago where we were only getting less than 50,000 doses per week. He is urging everyone to be patient. A lot of people are frustrated and upset because they couldn’t get an appointment Monday and/or they got an appointment for weeks from now.

RELATED: CT residents 55 and older, educators can now sign up to get COVID-19 vaccine

“It’s going to take a little bit of patience, but I think it will sort itself out over the next week or so,” Lamont said.

The governor said even with half a million people eligible for the latest allotment of vaccine, he believes they will still be able to vaccinate anyone who wants it in the next three weeks before the next phase of age 45 and up.

“We have about 500,000 people all going for those 100,000 doses, so you can see that there is going to be a bit of a line right now. But if we had done it the other way, we would’ve had about 1.8 million people all trying to go for the same numbers of doses.”

Johnson & Johnson is also shipping nearly 40,000 doses of their newly-approved vaccine to Connecticut this week, which will help open up educator clinics.

Josh Geballe with the governor’s office said, “It’s actually going to enable in many cases for us to bring forward a lot of the educator clinics, that may have had to be pushed further out into the later in the month, we can bring some of those in sooner.”

RELATED: New Haven releases COVID vaccination plan for teachers, educational staff, child care professionals starting March 3

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is working with local health departments to vaccinate teachers.

So how many doses are going where? Officials said 25% of the doses have been allocated to underserved communities; the rest goes to educators and that 55 and older age group.

Dr. Deirdre Gifford, Acting Commissioner of CT DPH said Monday, “We did not make it clear that they should stop providing the general vaccine eligibility and only vaccinate teachers. I think it was a little bit more of a blended message than that.”

And a new change to the appointment process: the public will know ahead of time what vaccine is being offered.

Geballe added, “All of our providers are going to be making visible in the reservation process which vaccine is associated with that appointment. We want people to have visibility and transparency into what vaccine is going to be available.”

Keep in mind, it will only tell you what vaccine you’re scheduled to get for that day; you don’t have a choice. And it is advised that whatever vaccine it is, you take it because if you wait for another appointment it could push you back further in the pipeline.

Another piece of advice: If you made the appointment today but your slot is not for two months, the governor said to look back at available appointments in a few days and see if you can find one sooner. If you can, book it, but go back and cancel the original appointment you made.

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