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People with health issues, vital workers on deck for vaccine in Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Essential workers, including teachers, as well as people with underlying medical conditions should learn in about 10 days when they can begin making their COVID-19 vaccination appointments, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday.

The state is finalizing plans for the next stage of Phase 1b as vaccinations continue for people 65 years and older. So far, 66% of people 75 years and older and 23% of people 65 to 75 have gotten at least one dose.

“The hospitals are going to be thinking about calling out their patients who have a particular need, get them in, get them prioritized in terms of getting vaccinated,” the Democrat said during a briefing with reporters.

Neighboring New York on Sunday allowed millions of its residents with health conditions that leave them at high risk of illness from COVID-19 to begin signing up for appointments at state-run vaccination sites. However, the lack of vaccine supply has meant some people driving hours to get the vaccine because they can’t find appointments closer to home through a state website.

Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, said Connecticut has been trying to phase in groups of people to avoid such problems as much as possible.

“Some other states have thrown a lot more people into the eligibility pile at once. But there’s a big difference between being eligible and actually having appointments to be able to get vaccine. So what we’ve tried to do is really prioritize and phase it in,” he said. “Folks with preexisting conditions, we agree, critically important to prioritize. We’re really looking forward to opening up access to that very soon.”

State officials are expected to rely heavily on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for identifying essential workers and underlying health conditions that put people at risk.

As of Tuesday, nearly 474,000 first doses and more than 218,000 second doses have been administered. On Friday, 28,000 shots were given, the largest one-day number so far. Meanwhile, the governor said the state anticipates it will receive about 22% more doses from the federal government next week. However, he warned that stormy weather could affect the state’s shipment.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed or probable COVID cases in Connecticut increased by 580 since Monday while the number of people hospitalized decreased by 12 to 606, the lowest number in months. Deaths grew by two to 7,449.


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