Several employees at The Country School in Madison received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that they were not eligible for under the current distribution guidelines after receiving an email stating they were eligible for immunization, school officials told NBC Connecticut.
According to Teresa Sullivan, the school's communications director, on December 22 school employees received an email from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that they were eligible for the vaccine, which included a link to sign up for a clinic. Sullivan said their nurse, physician assistant and a small group of others received a first dose.
When administrators learned that educators were being discussed as part of the state's Phase 1B, not the current Phase 1A, they reached out to local health officials and the state Department of Health for clarification, and sent an email to employees asking that they cancel any scheduled appointments for first doses.
"As a school we need to urge this community of intelligent and moral adults to be respectful of the process and guidance of the State of Connecticut regarding priorities now that the process has been clarified. Absent individual medical advice, our position as a school is that employees outside of front-line medical interveners should not schedule or reschedule first vaccinations until we learn that 1b people are eligible to receive vaccines. Furthermore, we request you cancel any upcoming appointments for at least first vaccines," the email from John Fixx, the head of school, read.
This is not the only instance of such a mistake with vaccine eligibility requirements - about a dozen people who work for The Williams School, a private school in New London, also received a coronavirus vaccine that they weren’t eligible to get under the state’s current distribution phase.
Connecticut Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford explained that their department is working with employers to identify eligible employees and that small errors are not unexpected in a process like this.
"They give us a roster of the employees that are eligible and then an email is sent to those employees explaining to them how to schedule an appointment. There have been a few isolated cases with very small numbers, as you point out, of rosters that were mistakenly uploaded and some people who got a vaccine got a little bit out of their place in prioritization," she said.
"We're working really hard to thread that needle and inevitably when you do that, there's gonna be some bumps in the road and there's gonna be some people that are slightly out of order and you know, teachers are likely going to be in the next phase so they may have gone a little bit early. We found out about it and addressed it," Gifford added.
Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that despite such errors, the vaccine rollout is going well.
"I will tell you the other 99.9% of vaccines have gone to people where it's appropriate and in the right priority list," Lamont told reporters when asked about any errors in distribution.
As of Thursday the state was reporting the following vaccination numbers:
- • First doses administered: 99,929
- • Second doses administered: 1,805
- • Total doses administered: 101,734
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