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Connecticut Avoids Further Industry-Specific COVID-19 Vaccinations, Commits to Age-Based Distribution

  • Connecticut commits to age-based COVID-19 vaccine distribution, saying other strategies would complicate the process and exacerbate inequities
  • Vaccination appointments to open to ages 55 to 64 starting March 1, with three additional tiers scheduled into May
  • Exception made for educators and child care providers, who will be eligible to receive the vaccine at dedicated clinics in March

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Connecticut will distribute COVID-19 vaccines based on age rather than moving workers in certain industries to the front of the line, Governor Ned Lamont announced Monday. An exception will be made for educators and child care providers, who will be eligible to receive the vaccine next month.

Lamont said that various scenarios were proposed for future phases of vaccine eligibility, but that they proved “overly complex and confusing, would potentially exacerbate inequities in vaccine distribution, and slow down the process of providing [the vaccine] to Connecticut residents.” He said an age-based distribution is the most equitable and efficient way to distribute the vaccine while also addressing the highest risk population, as 96 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Connecticut have been residents over the age of 55.

Connecticut will allow residents ages 55 to 64 to begin scheduling appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on March 1. Eligibility will expand to other age groups on the following schedule:

  • March 22: Ages 45 to 54
  • April 12: Ages 35 to 44
  • May 3: Ages 16 to 34

Connecticut prioritized health care personnel, long-term care facility residents and staff, and medical first responders in its first round of vaccine distribution. Its next phase opened vaccine eligibility to residents ages 75 and older, followed by those ages 65 to 74 as well as residents and staff in congregate settings.

The third tier of this phase was originally anticipated to be directed at essential frontline workers, which encompasses a wide range of employees whose duties can only be performed on-site rather than remotely, increasing their risk of exposure to the virus. It was also set to open to residents under the age of 65 with pre-existing conditions that increased their risk of developing a serious health issue.

Lamont said an age-based schedule allows the state to establish a simple, clear timeline on eligibility. He said the goal is also to prevent any delays and allow vaccination to proceed as quickly and smoothly as possible, since the state receives a limited number of vaccines from the federal government each week.

An exception is being made for preK-12 school staff and faculty as well as child care providers in an effort to support sustained in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. These workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine at designated clinics in March.

The state is also continuing its efforts at equitable distribution of the vaccine. Lamont said the Connecticut Department of Public Health will set numerical targets and work with providers to ensure that residents in high-risk communities receive the vaccine in numbers proportional to their population.

According to Connecticut’s latest data on COVID-19, the daily test positivity rate stood at 2.58 percent and hospitalizations have fallen to 500. A total of 826,125 vaccines have been distributed in the state, including 278,589 second doses, accounting for 70 percent of the population of residents ages 75 and older and 37 percent of the population between the ages of 65 and 74.

Connecticut residents can visit the state’s COVID-19 vaccine portal for more information on their nearest providers and how to schedule an appointment. They can also set up an appointment by calling the state’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224.

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