More than 500,000 additional people became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut Monday, including education workers and people who are age 55 and older.
Local health departments are responsible for coordinating vaccine plans for education workers in their region.
The Uncas Health District covers 11 municipalities in the Norwich area, serving Bozrah, Franklin, Griswold, Lebanon, Lisbon, Montville, Norwich, Preston, Salem, Sprague, and Voluntown.
The health district is teaming up with Yale New Haven Health to vaccinate the educators, childcare providers and other eligible school staff in those towns.
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“There are going to be appointments made available to them in the month of March," said Patrick McCormack, director of health for the Uncas Health District. "The partnership regionally in southeastern Connecticut is incredible."
According to McCormack, there are about 30 schools within the Uncas Health District and an estimated 3,000 school workers who will be seeking the vaccine.
He said the partnership with YNHH is very helpful, especially since YNHH is now operating a mass vaccination clinic at Mohegan Sun Casino.
“They were willing to set up times that were work better for the schedules of educators and childcare providers. Weekend appointments and later hours," said McCormack.
Educators within the Uncas Health District do not have to get an appointment through YNHH. However, all educators in the region will have access to a private link with appointments exclusively for the school staff.
McCormack said he sent the link to school superintendents Sunday night. The health system released appointments through out the day and is planning on adding more appointments through out the week.
“Patience is key. I tell everyone just because you are now eligible does not mean you are going to get a dose today," said McCormack.
The goal is for all educators in the region to receive their first dose before the end of the month.
“What we are doing is building our schedules to meet that need while also serving the general 55-64 population," said Ohm Deshpinde, vice president of population health for YNHH.
As YNHH works to make sure education workers can get a first dose by the end of March, appointments for the eligible general public have been filling up fast.
They said that more appointments will be available this week. People are encouraged to keep checking back.
“We just need to make sure that we have the allocation and that we’re meeting all the needs we have to meet," said Deshpinde.