During a news briefing with Governor Lamont yesterday, Department of Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford said that the state will transition quickly to vaccinating group 1B as soon as vaccine appointments begin to open up—even as some members of group 1A remain to be vaccinated.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) anticipates that will happen before the end of January.
Connecticut teachers and school staff are part of Connecticut’s 1B group, who will be vaccinated after the frontline medical providers and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities who make up group 1A.
There are approximately 850,000 people in group 1B, which, in addition to school personnel, includes people over 75, grocery store employees, manufacturing workers, and other frontline essential workers. DPH estimates that it will take about 10 weeks for all of those in that group who so choose to be vaccinated.
In a joint statement, CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel today called on the state to continue to prioritize educators and school staff for vaccinations in Phase 1B.
“The prompt vaccination of educators and school staff is critical to ensuring the safety of our school communities and expediting full in-person teaching and learning in Connecticut’s schools,” they said.
Gifford said that the Governor’s Vaccine Advisory Group will be meeting again this coming week, and further details about the timeline and how appointments will be scheduled for group 1B will be shared following that meeting.
Leake and Hochadel said that they appreciate the hard work of the Governor’s Vaccine Advisory Group in dealing with this complicated and important issue. “We look forward to sharing with our members further details of the administration’s plans, including inoculation sites and appointment scheduling.”
Connecticut currently ranks sixth for the percentage of its population that has received a first vaccine dose—all states with higher rates of vaccination have considerably smaller populations.
Some school districts have already begun to plan for the rollout of the COVID vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
At the Region 14 Board of Education meeting earlier this week, COVID-19 District Liaison Mark Harutunian said that the local health department has told the school that vaccines will begin to be available to staff within three to four weeks.
Harutunian said he has double and triple checked the list of all staff employed by Region 14 for accuracy and that the district is making plans for vaccination in a school building that has sufficient space that can be made available to the Department of Public Health for vaccinations.
During a Torrington Board of Education meeting Superintendent Susan Lubomski recommended that, before the state begins to vaccinate phase 1B, school personnel contact their primary care physician to ascertain if they are likely to experience an allergic reaction to the vaccine.