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Connecticut Taking Three-Tiered Approach to Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

  • Second phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Connecticut will be split into three tiers
  • Residents ages 75 and older receive first priority, followed by ages 65 and older, frontline essential workers, those with underlying medical conditions, and residents in congregate housing
  • Lamont urges patience due to limited amount of vaccine being supplied each week

Governor Ned Lamont has announced that the second phase of Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution will be split into three tiers, with the state’s elderly population getting first priority.

Connecticut has advanced to Phase 1b of its vaccine distribution plan, following an initial phase focused on health care workers, residents in long-term care facilities, and first responders. The state is currently scheduling vaccinations for residents ages 75 and older.

Lamont said he has directed the Connecticut Department of Public Health to take a tiered approach with Phase 1b to provide access based on the “risk of adverse health outcomes from the virus.” He anticipates that scheduling will begin for residents between the ages of 65 and 74 in early February, with scheduling in late February or early March for frontline essential workers as well as individuals with underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Frontline essential workers are defined as professions where work-related duties must be performed on-site rather than remotely, increasing the possibility of exposure to the virus. Qualifying workers include health care employees and first responders not vaccinated in the Phase 1a, food service workers, farmers and agricultural workers, employees of the U.S. Postal Service, grocery store and pharmacy employees, public transit workers, educators and child care providers, food banks and meal delivery services for the elderly, sanitation and wastewater workers, frontline public and social service professions, and inspectors of any above sites.

In addition to these groups, residents in congregate living settings will be scheduled in throughout the phase. These settings include sites such as prisons, inpatient mental health facilities, and domestic violence shelters.

Connecticut’s tentative schedule calls for general distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to take place over the summer and fall. Residents would be able to receive doses in any places where vaccinations are typically available, along with additional sites set up to speed vaccine distribution.

Lamont urged residents to be patient and continue abiding by public health guidelines while awaiting wider distribution of the vaccine. He said the state is currently limited in how many vaccines it can provide, since the state is receiving only 45,000 doses a week from the federal government. An estimated 1.4 million people are eligible for the vaccination under Phase 1b guidelines.

President-elect Joe Biden has called for an accelerated distribution of vaccines, setting a goal of 100 million doses in his first 100 days in office. Since the vaccine is administered through two shots, this would fully vaccinate 50 million people. The federal government has been withholding enough vaccines to guarantee a second dose for all recipients of a first shot, but Biden is anticipating that manufacturing will be able to keep up with demand.

Connecticut had administered 196,753 first doses as of Tuesday, along with 24,067 second doses. The state is among the top five for vaccine distribution, administering 71 percent of all doses it has received including 92 percent of those allocated for health care organizations and local health departments.

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