Gov. Ned Lamont announced today that phase 1B, which encompasses over 1.3 million Connecticut residents, would be broken down into a series of tiers that prioritizes the people who are at the highest risk of dying from the virus.
According to the timeline presented today at the governor’s press conference, individuals 75 and older continue to be first in line. The governor said he was expecting this group to have received their first doses within the next two weeks.
Lamont said that people over the age of 75 comprise eight percent of the population, but account for 71 percent of the fatalities in Connecticut.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
People 65 years of age or older will be able to get the vaccine in early February. Lamont said that he expected the process of vaccinating this group to be similar to the 75-plus age range, since it was a population that was easy to identify and would most likely have a high level of uptake.
Lamont said that people 65 and older represented 18 percent of the state’s overall population, but 88 percent of deaths. He added that a larger proportion of African Americans and Hispanic individuals between the ages of 60 and 79 died from COVID when compared to non-Hispanic whites.
“Our priorities … [are] number one about saving lives and maintaining capacity in our hospitals,” he said.
Around March 1, frontline essential workers like teachers, food service workers, agricultural workers, sewage and wastewater workers and first responders will become eligible for the vaccine. Individuals ages 16-64 with comorbidities will also become eligible on March 1.
Individuals living in homeless shelters, addiction treatment centers, prisons and other congregate facilities – which account for about 50,000 doses – will be vaccinated in parallel with the other 1B tiers.
Lamont said he expected 1B vaccinations to last through May, although he said he is hopeful that Pfizer and Moderna will be able to increase production, and that the approval of the vaccine developed by Janssen, the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson and Johnson, will bring more doses to the state.
As of today, Connecticut has distributed 220,820 doses in total — 196,753 first doses and 24,067 second doses.
The state expects to receive about 45,000 doses per week. Additionally, a one-time shipment of an additional 50,000 doses is expected to arrive in the state today or tomorrow.