Vaccines for ages 65-74 on the horizon

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

HARTFORD — State residents age 65 to 74 can start signing up for appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots on Thursday.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced the opening of registrations for vaccination appointments for this second group to be vaccinated outside of critical hospital workers, residents and staff of nursing homes, and emergency first responders.

There are an estimated 353,000 residents between the ages of 65 and 74. Lamont said the vaccinations of this age cohort will take approximately a month, depending on vaccine supplies and how many sign up to get vaccinated.

“It is going to take us a while to get everybody an appointment, but you will get an appointment, you will get vaccinated, and we’ll do it over the course of the next month,” he said.

Lamont, 67, said he plans to consult state health officials about getting vaccinated. He had been holding off until his age group’s turn.

“I’d like to think I’m in the next week or so if everything works out,” he said.

The state vaccination program is now open to people age 75 and older. Lamont reported Monday that 59% of the estimated 277,000 members of this age group have at least received their first dose. The available Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be effective against the coronavirus.

Residents between the ages of 65 and 74 can use the Vaccine Administration Management System to schedule appointments at multiple clinics across the state. VAMS can be accessed at ct.gov/covidvaccine.

In addition, people can call the COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224. The phone line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Appointments can be made through health care providers, including Hartford HealthCare, Yale New Haven Health and Stamford Health.

Walgreens and CVS pharmacies are also offering the vaccine at limited locations. In addition, Walmart will be offering the vaccine at seven locations across the state — Hartford, New Haven, Borwalk, Torrington, Waterbury, West Haven and Windham.

Positive trends continued in the state’s COVID-19 outbreak over the weekend.

The rate of positive test results continued to hover between 3% and 4% over the weekend after reaching nearly 11% almost four weeks ago on Jan. 12.

There were 4,367 new cases of COVID-19 out of 122,145 test results that were received between Friday and Sunday for a positivity rate of nearly 3.6%. There now have been 263,739 cases reported since early last March. Slightly more than 6 million molecular and antigen tests have been done.

Hospitals continued to decline, but there was only a net decrease of 12 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 between new admissions and discharges to 815 statewide.

There were 68 more coronavirus-linked deaths reported over the weekend. The additional fatalities brought the death toll to 7,282.

The state reported Monday there have been 2,601 cases in Naugatuck, 646 in Prospect and 411 in Beacon Falls since last March.

There were three more coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck and one more in Beacon Falls reported since late last week. There have been 83 coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck, six in Beacon Falls and two in Prospect.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.