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With cases of new COVID variant rising, there’s a push for more vaccines

Originally posted on WFSB

Connecticut’s governor, one of its senators and health officials pushed for more help from the federal government in terms of getting the vaccines the state needs.

Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont visited a mass vaccination site that was set up in the vicinity of Rentschler Field in East Hartford. He said with four new cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant being detected in the state, bringing the total to eight, the state needs all the help it can get.

Lamont was joined by Public Health acting commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Pratt & Whitney president Christopher Calio, and Community Health Center president and CEO Mark Masselli.

They pushed the need for more vaccines not only in Connecticut, but across the country.

“I can’t tell you Connecticut has been doing pretty well playing really good defense,” Lamont said. “Today we are going on offense. We are going to make sure that we have as many of our people vaccinated as quickly as we can, as safely as we can. Look at these lines of hope right here, this is what this means. People know what kind of difference this is going make for our state and for our country.”

They also argued that the vaccine is safe and urged everyone possible to get it when they can.

Monday alone, 1,600 people will get vaccinated. State officials said they could accommodate as many as 5,000 patients per day. 

They only thing holding them back has been a limited supply from the federal government.

The hope as that more vaccines will arrive soon.

As of Monday, the state continued to focus on vaccinating healthcare workers and people over the age of 75. About 27 percent of that population already received their first of two doses.

“Total doses administered is 300,000 and counting,” Lamont said. “That is progress.”

An old runway owned by Pratt & Whitney recently became a mass vaccine distribution site in East Hartford.

It opened to eligible patients last week. Since then, roughly 6,000 people have driven up, rolled up their sleeves and received the vaccine.

At least eight state residents have contracted the UK COVID-19 variant. The Yale School of Public Health said it has been testing for the more contagious strain.

“We’re doing this every week and we can say week 1 we found four cases, how many did we find in week 2 and how many in week 3, 4, 5 to see if we are seeing that rapid proliferation,” said Dr. Joseph Fauver, Yale School of Public Health.

Information about vaccination sites around the state can be found here.

COVID vaccine available by appointment only. Click for more information. Interested in becoming a volunteer vaccinator? Click here.