Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has announced the next group of people who will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, which will include teachers, school staff and child care providers.
Currently, those age 65 and older are eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase 1B.
Starting in March, those who work as preK-12 school staff and teachers, and professional child care providers will also be eligible for the vaccine. The state said there will be dedicated clinics specifically aimed at that target group. Those working in eligible fields should receive information from their employer on how to set up an appointment at one of those clinics.
This priority list includes teachers, paraeducators, custodial services, food services employees, bus drivers, in-class volunteers, in school administrative staff and professional health care providers. It will not include employees who do not need to be in a school building, those who are telecommuting or school board members.
On Monday, the governor's office also released a new schedule for age-based eligibility over the coming months. Those eligible to receive the vaccine based on their profession do not need to fit into any additional age requirements.
Lamont said this is an effort to get schools reopened as quickly as possible and preventing school staff quarantine shutdowns.
When Can I Get Vaccinated in Connecticut Based on My Age?
The age based timeline is as follows:
- March 1, 2021: Expands to age group 55 to 64
- March 22, 2021: Expands to age group 45 to 54
- April 12, 2021: Expands to age group 35 to 44
- May 3, 2021: Expands to age group 16 to 34
The opening of two new groups on March 1 will make the vaccine available to an additional 650,000 people.
Lamont said at a press conference Monday that the state was focusing on two key pieces of vaccine distribution:
Speed: Getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, especially those with age-related risk factors, which data continues to show is an overwhelming element of the virus.
Equity: reaching out to underserved communities to ensure they have access to the vaccine.
The equity portion of this will focus on outreach and getting into communities with things like mobile clinics or transportation options. It will also focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy in communities that historically distrust the health care system.
This vaccination is a break from the CDC guidance on distribution, but the governor said the CDC guidelines are too broad to be implemented effectively.
"It's leading to a great deal of confusion in other states because some make it so complicated," he said, pointing to different eligibility requirements for things like paychecks and doctor's notes to prove a specific type of employment or medical conditions.
Latest COVID-19 Numbers
Connecticut's COVID-19 test positive rate continued to stay below 3% Monday, coming in at 2.58%.
Of the 86,401 tests reported Monday, 2,233 came back positive for the coronavirus.
There are 35 fewer people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 bringing the total current hospitalizations down to 500. Thirty-nine more people lost their lives in Connecticut from the disease, bringing the state's death toll to 7,562.
Reaction to New Vaccine Eligibility Guidance
The new vaccine guidance does not include some previously discussed groups of essential workers, such as transportation workers and grocery store employees. When asked about the specific carve-out for teachers and not other essential workers, the governor said the strategy was based on the belief that schools need to be reopened safely.
"I believe it's that important that keep our schools open and get them open full time for our kids. We've lost - some kids have lost a lot of education over the course of this year and I want to give them every chance we can to catch up," Lamont said.
The Connecticut Food Association issued the following release today in response to Governor Lamont’s change to the Covid Vaccine administration plan:
“It is unfortunate that the change in policy excludes essential grocery workers.
Since the start of the pandemic, Connecticut’s grocery community has operated with two overarching missions: (1) provide our fellow Connecticut citizens with healthy, nutritious, and safe foods; and (2) protect our essential workers so they could continue to perform their critical roles.
Despite the heartrending impacts of COVID-19, our state's residents have been able to count on a safe, stable supply of food to sustain them over the last year. That would not have been possible without the selfless individuals who came to work every day so that others could feed their families.
We will be having difficult conversations with our associates who believed they would be eligible for a vaccination in the next phase.
It is important to ensure these workers receive the vaccination as soon as possible to keep them safe and the supply chain operating efficiently.”
Scott Dolch of the Connecticut Restaurant Association said restaurant workers were also disappointed by the announcement.
“It’s no secret that our industry has worked with the Governor and his team to try and place restaurant workers in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout. After all, restaurants and their employees have been among the hardest hit when it comes to this pandemic.
While we’re disappointed, we also appreciate that this is the Governor’s call to make, and we’ll trust that it’s the fastest way to get as many people vaccinated as possible. In that same spirit, we hope it will allow the administration to work with us to set a clear timeline for moving to a phase 3 of Connecticut’s reopening, so that as more people are vaccinated they are also able to support their local economy and local workers at Connecticut restaurants. We’ll keep working with Governor Lamont on that timeline in the days ahead.”
Rochelle Palache, vice president of 32BJ SEIU, also provided a statement:
“We were dismayed and deeply disappointed to learn this afternoon that Governor Lamont has abandoned the needs of essential workers and people with pre-existing conditions in the next phase of the coronavirus vaccine rollout. We fully expected the Governor to follow the recommendations of the CDC and his own Vaccine Advisory Group and prioritize those whose risk is now greatest. Our union’s 5,000 janitors and security officers in Connecticut are among the thousands of essential workers who have kept our state running by chancing death every single workday. While many workers 55 and over can still do their jobs from home, most Black and Latinx workers can’t, which in part explains why they face Covid mortality rates far higher than white workers do. As the past year repeatedly proved, racial and economic blindness only perpetuate racial and economic injustice.”
COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility in Conn.
Who Can Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut Right Now?
- Phase 1a: The state started the vaccine rollout in mid-December by vaccinating healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents and medical first responders.
- Phase 1b: As of mid-January, Connecticut residents 75 and older have been able to sign up for an appointment and get a vaccine.
- Phase 1b, tier 2: As of Feb. 11, Connecticut residents between the ages of 65 and 74 can sign up and get an appointment.
Note: To get a vaccine in Connecticut, you must either live or work in the state. If you typically visit a provider here but do not live or work in Connecticut, you are not eligible and must get vaccinated in your home state.
What Coronavirus Vaccines is Connecticut Getting?
- For CT residents 16 and up.
- The recommended time between doses: 21 days
- For CT residents 18 and up
- The recommended time between doses: 28 days
How to Get an Appointment for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut
By phone: Call Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for scheduling at select sites.
Online: Schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment in VAMS, the Vaccine Administration Management System.
- Fill out the form to let the Department of Public health know you are interested in creating an account in VAMS. If you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine then you should receive an email from VAMS to complete your registration within 12 hours. Click here to create an account.
- Check for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the link in the email and create your account. You will be prompted to retrieve a code that will be emailed to you. You will need to create a password and store it in a safe place.
- If you forgot your password, the "forgot password" link on the login page can only be used if you have created a password as part of your VAMS registration.
- Complete your VAMS registration.
- The first question that will be asked in VAMS is “Have you already registered as a vaccine recipient with VAMS?” The answer to this question is “No.”
- Questions with a red asterisk are mandatory.
- Insurance information does not need to be entered.
- You will be prompted to share some additional information about yourself.
- In order for VAMS to recognize your option chosen for race, click on your choice in the box on the left and click the right-pointing arrow to move your choice to the box on the right.
- Use your zip code to search for clinics near you in VAMS.
- The system will automatically search for clinics within a 10-mile radius of your zip code, but you may choose up to 100 miles from the dropdown menu, which might provide more clinic locations in your search results.
- You might need to check multiple clinic locations to find an available appointment. Find a slot that works for you, and book your appointment.