Phase 1B COVID vaccine distribution expanding; CT residents 65-74 able to enroll starting Thursday

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Residents of Connecticut ages 65-74 will be able to enroll for the COVID-19 vaccine this week.

Monday, the state announced it is expanding Phase 1B COVID vaccine distribution to those 65-74. Residents in that age group will be able to officially begin signing up for the vaccine Thursday, Feb. 11.

Vaccinations for individuals over the age of 75 and those within Phase 1A will continue as they have been.

“With approximately 350,000 individuals in Connecticut between the ages of 65 and 74, and a slightly increased but relatively small weekly supply of the vaccine being received in the state from the federal government, Governor Lamont and state public health officials are stressing the need for patience on the part of Connecticut residents,” The governor’s office said Monday. “Currently, the state anticipates receiving about 60,000 first doses of the vaccine per week from the federal government.”

RELATED: High volume of calls, online registration leading to problems with State’s Phase 1B, age 75+ COVID vaccine signups

Those officially eligible for the vaccine in Connecticut starting Thursday include those age 65 and older, health care providers, medical first responders, staff, and residents of long-term care facilities, staff and residents of certain congregate living facilities.

“In a perfect world, we would receive enough doses of the vaccine to make it available to everyone in Connecticut right now,” Governor Lamont said. “However, each state is being given a very limited supply, which is why we need to phase it in and give priority to the most vulnerable populations. I know that people are anxious to receive it, and I will continue advocating for our state to receive increased allocations in the coming weeks and months.”

“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted older individuals and individuals in traditionally underserved communities,” Connecticut Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said. “Now that we’ve vaccinated the majority of our highest risk age group, we are ready to move to those over the age of 65. However, we want to ensure that within this high-risk group, we focus on getting vaccines to individuals within the group who come from communities that have been hardest hit by the virus, namely our Black and Latino communities. We are working with our vaccine providers and other community partners to identify underserved areas and focus vaccine resources into those areas, including providing transportation assistance and other solutions to address barriers to vaccine access.”

Even though the state is not opening enrollment until Thursday, some providers started sign-ups on Monday because they have extra vaccine doses and don’t want them to go to waste.

They have it available because, while only 50% of the 75 and older group have been vaccinated, the demand is starting to slow.

“The first 20, 30, 40, 50% are much more likely to want to get vaccinated now, there is a little bit more hesitancy, and I want to make sure that there are no vaccines left behind and that every vaccine is a shot in the arm,” the governor added during his press briefing Monday.

Lamont said he has been talking with Connecticut-based Pfizer, trying to get an idea of what to expect in terms of doses out of Washington D.C.

“We are trying to track that as carefully as we can right now,” he explained. “There is some relatively good news from Pfizer recently, but I am going to wait to get the allocation from the feds so we can count on it.”

Right now, 24 pharmacies in Connecticut distribute the vaccine, but that number is expected to nearly triple, adding an extra 11,000 doses a week on top of what the state already gets.

“Now the federal pharmacy group is coming in on top of that with a dedicated vaccine supply,” added Josh Geballe, the state’s Chief Operations Officer. “That doesn’t have to come out of our allocation, and that’s going to mean another 60 pharmacies. That means more CVS and Walgreens coming on starting on Friday.”

The governor falls into that 65 and older group. He has been waiting his turn in line and he believes he’ll be getting that shot in the next week or so.

RELATED: CT’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line now available 12 hours per day, 7 days a week

All eligible residents are required to make an appointment in advance of receiving the vaccine. To find available vaccination clinics throughout the state, residents can visit ct.gov/covidvaccine and enter their zip code.

Appointments can be made utilizing the following tools:

  • VAMS online system: VAMS is the Vaccine Administration Management System and can be used to schedule appointments at multiple clinics across the state. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
  • Call Connecticut’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assist Line: Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment assist line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. To make an appointment, call 877-918-2224.
  • Hartford HealthCare: Hartford HealthCare has multiple locations throughout the state, including large clinics in the Hartford area. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
  • Yale New Haven Health: Yale New Haven Hospital has multiple locations throughout the state, including large clinics in the New Haven area. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
  • Stamford Health: Stamford Health is operating a clinic seven days per week at Stamford Hospital. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
  • Walgreens: Walgreens is currently offering the vaccine at 12 different locations and will soon be adding many more across the state. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
  • CVS: CVS is currently offering the vaccine in four locations (Colchester, Putnam, Waterford and Windsor Locks) and will be expanding to 12 more locations in the next week. To make an appointment using this system, click here.
  • Walmart: Walmart will be offering the vaccine at seven locations across the state (Hartford, New Haven, North Windham, Norwalk, Torrington, Waterbury and West Haven). To make an appointment using this system, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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