Close to 1 million state residents fully vaccinated

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

Health officials recommended pause for J&J vaccine

HARTFORD — Slightly more than half of people age 16 and older living in Connecticut have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Ned Lamont reported Monday.

Close to 1 million of the state’s population of nearly 3.6 million have been fully vaccinated, meaning someone has received a shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or a second shot of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. In all, more than 2.4 million vaccine doses have been administered since mid-December, including approximately 96,620 doses of the J&J vaccine.

Lamont announced that 52% of state residents age 16 and older have received at least a first dose of a vaccine. He said the COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death rates have stabilized due in large part to the vaccination effort.

He reported 83% of the population age 65 and older has been vaccinated, plus 71% of the 55-to-64 age group, 64% of the 45-to-54 age group and 30% of the 16-to-44 age group.

Lamont said another encouraging development is that vaccine appointments are becoming more readily available.

“You could have found appointments for this morning for later today. I haven’t been able to say in some months,” he said.

The state Department of Public Health in a statement issued Tuesday morning recommended that vaccine providers pause on administration of the J&J vaccine for the time being, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The move comes after six people in the U.S. developed a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis within two weeks of receiving their vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, according to DPH, and none live in Connecticut.

State health officials want to hold off an administering anymore J&J vaccines while the FDA and CDC review the situation. Officials recommend that people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

The state fell short again of its weekly goal for administering vaccines to people living in 50 high-risk postal codes. The postal codes cover 17 towns and cities, including Waterbury, Naugatuck and Winsted.

The Lamont administration asked vaccinators to target at least 31% of their weekly doses to residents of the selected ZIP codes, but just 22% of doses were administered to them last week, said Josh Geballe, the governor’s chief operating officer.

Another 2,985 COVID-19 case were reported out of 98,981 tests results that were received between Friday and Sunday.

There now have been 324,571 reported cases since March 2020, and more than 8.1 million molecular and antigen tests have been performed in Connecticut.

There was a net decrease over the weekend of seven patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 524 statewide.

There were 13 more coronavirus-associated deaths reported between Friday and Sunday. There now have been 7,957 deaths attributed to COVID-19 or complications from the viral disease.

The state reported there have been 3,284 cases in Naugatuck, 841 in Prospect and 521 in Beacon Falls since last March.

There have been 88 coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck, six in Beacon Falls and five in Prospect, according to state officials.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.