This summer, people in Connecticut have been stepping up efforts to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Data from the Department of Public Health shows week-by-week figures of how many first-dose vaccinations were administered. Those weekly figures have been steadily increasing for much of the summer.
During the week of July 1 through July 8, the state figures showed 12,137 people received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. In mid-July from the 15th through the 22nd, another 17,080 people were administered their initial dose. More recently, for the week of August 5 through August 12, the state reported 29,317 first-dose vaccinations were given.
Health officials said the increase in vaccinations during the summer will have an impact on the number of cases and hospitalizations that will arise in the fall.
"Any opportunity to increase our vaccination coverage is going to help prevent that type of massive surge that is being seen in other parts of the country,” said Dr. David Banach, epidemiologist and infectious disease doctor at UConn Health. “I think as healthcare professionals, we're still encouraging our patients who are not yet vaccinated, to get vaccinated. We're trying to provide education and support them in doing so. In the end, that will help preserve the hospital workforce."
Medical experts have long said that it is critical to monitor the number of hospitalizations to gauge where the region stands in the pandemic. Other parts of the U.S. with much lower vaccination rates are dealing with significantly more cases. Some hospital systems in the south are being stretched thin.
Dr. Banach said there are likely two factors driving Connecticut vaccinations numbers up. One, he said, is more confidence in the vaccines as more time passes. Some people are not as apprehensive or hesitant anymore. Secondly, people are fearful of the highly transmissible variant of the virus that's out there, he said.
"A lot of that is likely in response to hearing about Delta variant, particularly that it's more contagious,” said Dr. Banach. “And also, the vaccines themselves are holding up very well, in terms of protecting against illness. Additionally, you know, there's been a lot of attention regarding the distribution of our patients who are hospitalized, and that the overwhelming majority are those who are not vaccinated."
In addition to the weekly vaccination statistics, the state also released overall vaccination numbers. As of Thursday, 2,389,092 first doses of the vaccine had been administered. In all, 2,195,300 people in Connecticut were classified as fully vaccinated, according to state data.