Governor Lamont Working Closely with the CDC on Prioritizing Who Gets Covid-19 Vaccine First

On Monday, the first day after Christmas and New Year’s holiday break, Governor Ned Lamont held an online news briefing, where he shared Covid-19 numbers.

He said the State’s positivity rate was relatively stable at 5.29% and compared that to the 30th and 31st when it had spiked up to 9%.

He noted the seven day average was 6.6%, but said, “It’s worth remembering that even at 6.6% we are probably the sixth lowest state in the country thanks to you erring on the side of caution.”

“It’s tough,” he continued, adding that New York had flared up to about 7.5%, and both MA and RI are over 8%.

“Our neighbors’ 7-day averages are still a little bit more (than Connecticut),” he said. “We’re not an island unto ourselves. With more than a week since Christmas, we still have relative stability in CT and capacity in our hospitals – that number has not gone up in the past 6-8 weeks.”

Lamont said that through good pre-planning with hospitals, CVS and Walgreens, Connecticut was one of the first states in the country to vaccinate over 2% of the population with a first dose.

He noted the other states that had achieved better vaccination success than Connecticut were less densely populated Connecticut, including West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota and Maine.

Lamont said that in Connecticut 75,180 doses had been administered.

“We received a about 167,000 doses,” he said. “So we are on a par, per capita, compared to our peers in terms of doses coming in.”

Lamont said Connecticut was confident that by Friday, 100% of nursing home patients and staff will have had their first vaccination.

Second doses started earlier in the day on Monday.

“Soon – like today, we’re going to be moving into the assisted living facilities because they are most likely to be people who will suffer complications, be that sometimes fatalities, going to ICUs or hospitals,” the Governor said.

Governor Lamont said 85 sites in CT were already administering vaccines at hospitals and nursing homes.

“We’re rolling that out to pharmacies over the next couple weeks,” Lamont continued. “As we broaden our population, it will be easier for people to get their vaccine on a retail basis right at their local pharmacy – Walgreens, CVS, you name it – federally qualified health centers.”

Lamont said that in Connecticut, he did not want to have a supply and demand disconnect, which has happened in other states.

“You see sometimes vaccines are sitting on the shelf collecting dust,” he said. “We’re not letting that happen…With just-in-time-inventory, we’re being very careful.”

Lamont said, for example, if a hospital were to have extra vaccines at the end of the day, they would be moved elsewhere where there was demand.

Connecticut is currently in phase 1A of vaccinations for Covid-19.

Connecticut is in Phase 1a of the vaccination roll out. Those eligible for the vaccine for Covid-19 are healthcare personnel including all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients, as well as long term care facility residents and first responders including EMTs, police and fire.

As for what is coming next, Lamont said the Allocation Committee, working closely with the CDC, would determine who would come after the first line of health care workers in nursing homes and hospitals.

“We should be rolling that out over the next two to three weeks,” he said, adding that priority will be given to people who do not have the option of telecommuting and have to interface with people every day.

“It’s not like what you see in Florida,” Lamont said. “They opened the doors, people waited in line for 8 hours. They ran out of vaccine after four or five hours, people left and came back the next day.”

Lamont said that in Connecticut, people will sign up for a reservation for the vaccination online.

“If you don’t have online, make a phone reservation,” he said. “I think that will make sure we have the best group of people getting the vaccine on a timely basis.”

Lamont said the Allocation Committee planned to meet on Tuesday, Jan 5 to discuss who would receive the vaccine in Phase 1B.

What comes next. The Allocation Committee will meet on Tuesday, Jan 5 to discuss who receives the vaccine in Phase 1B.

“If we find we do have additional vaccine, we’ll open up the lens a little bit to make sure that every drop of that vaccine is administered on a timely basis. I don’t want to leave anybody behind.”

Lamont said the state was on schedule to get all phase 1 people vaccinated on time and on schedule – and that he planned to listen to the recommendations of the Allocation Committee about who would comprise the next group to be vaccinated.

“Everybody has somebody they want to put into the next group.”

Ned Lamont, Jan 4, 2021

Asked when the general population would be eligible for the vaccination, Lamont again said he’d take the advice of the Allocation Committee, who are meeting on Tuesday.

Given the news that the UK variant of Covid-19 was found in Saratoga, NY, Lamont was asked if he would add other population groups such as adults 65+ or 75+ or people under 65 with medical conditions to phase 1B.

“If you put one group at the front of the line, other groups go to the back of the line.”

– CT Governor Ned Lamont on giving the vaccine to some population groups earlier than others

“What limits us is the supply of vaccines. Every time someone says, ‘Put them at the front of the line,’ you’re displacing someone else. That’s why I do tend to rely upon the CDC and our vaccine board. I think they’ll make decisions on the public health and the greater good.”

Lamont said there were controls to prevent people from cutting the line for a vaccine.

He said currently essential workers are receiving the vaccine through hospitals and nursing homes, where there are controls.

Then, in phase 1B, essential workers will sign up for a vaccine by appointment/reservation and provide ID.

“We know it’s the first-line essential worker getting the vaccine, not their second cousin once removed,” he said.

There is more information on Covid-19 vaccinations in Connecticut on the state website.

The website says that the state’s goal is for all residents to have access to the vaccination, but that it would likely not occur until late spring or early summer 2021.