Up to five nursing homes could begin vaccinating staff and residents sooner than the state's planned Dec. 21 rollout for long-term care facilities, under a joint state-federal initiative involving Connecticut and three other states.
Connecticut officials are currently in the process of working with long-term care facilities across the state, trying to identify which ones can be ready for vaccinations as soon as Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont's communications director confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
“From our standpoint, it’s an opportunity for us to get the vaccine in arms as quickly as possible to try to help our long-term care facilities, especially as the surge continues,” Max Reiss said. The names of the particular nursing homes have not yet been released. A spokeswoman for The Reservoir in West Hartford, which is owned by Genesis Health Care, confirmed to the Hartford Courant that the facility will get vaccinations on Friday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said vaccine clinics at select long-term care facilities in Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, and West Virginia could begin this week. There are some other states where vaccinations have already begun in nursing homes.
It's unclear how many vaccine doses will initially be provided to these five facilities in Connecticut, but Reiss said it's expected to take three clinics per facility to get all staff and residents vaccinated. The pharmacy CVS will handle the process. Reiss said three-quarters of the state's long-term care facilities have already chosen CVS to administer their COVID-19 vaccinations.
“It was indicated to CVS that HHS viewed Connecticut as a good candidate to do this early,” Reiss said.
The state has been planning for the first vaccine shipments for nursing homes — about 16,575 doses — to be transported to CVS and Walgreens distribution centers by Dec. 21 and then sent to long-term care facilities throughout the state.
Hospital workers throughout the state began receiving their doses earlier this week.
Since Tuesday, there have been 2,319 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut and 40 COVID-related deaths, for a total of 5,506. As of Wednesday, there were 1,254 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a decrease of 15 since Tuesday.