Support Local News.

We've been with you throughout the pandemic, and now as vaccines become more widely available, we are reporting on how our local schools, businesses and communities are returning to a more "normal" future. There's never been more of a need for the kind of local, independent and unbiased journalism that The Day produces.
Please support our work by subscribing today.

Lamont: Connecticut is first state in the nation to vaccinate half its adult population

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday that Connecticut is the first state in the nation with more than half of adults 18 and older fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

During an afternoon news conference, Lamont touted the latest vaccine numbers, noting that 69% of adults 18 and older had received at least their first dose of the vaccine.

The governor’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said the Centers for Disease Control, as of shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, had Connecticut at 40.3% of the state’s total population vaccinated and 50.3% of the 18-plus population.

“In both of those categories Connecticut’s currently ranked first in the nation,” Geballe added. 

According to state numbers, 1,912,581 first doses have been administered, with 1,393,894 people fully vaccinated. A total of 3,192,560 total doses have been administered. 

Lamont also elaborated on $13 million in federal funding the state will distribute to form relationships between vaccine providers, local health and community organizations, particularly in underserved communities of color. Lamont announced earlier Monday that 27 municipalities and local health departments were chosen for the grant money, including the Ledge Light and Uncas health districts in southeastern Connecticut. 

“It was an open application process for any community that was looking for some extra support to hire people to go door to door, to make phone calls, to train trusted messengers in the communities who can go out and talk to people who may still have reservations about getting vaccinated,” Geballe said. “It’s really the ground game at this point of trying to provide all the resources to our local partners that we can to ensure they are reaching out to the remaining people who have not yet been vaccinated.”

Lamont said the number of new people getting inoculated is not going up as fast as it was a few weeks ago, “and we realize now we have to work a lot harder in underserved communities, young people, and everybody. Sometimes it’s a matter of access, making it easier for you to get vaccinated, sometimes it’s a matter of outreach.”

The New York Times reported Monday that scientists and public health experts have reached a consensus that the nationwide herd immunity threshold is “not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.” 

The governor was asked several questions about herd immunity in Connecticut on Monday. He and Geballe were not ready to say whether the state would make it to herd immunity. Geballe acknowledged that experts have said it’s unlikely the U.S. will get to total herd immunity “and that there won’t still be some COVID out there because we’re not in a position as a nation or a world where there’s a plan to mandate vaccination for everyone out there, and therefore there will be pockets of people who choose not to get vaccinated.”

Lamont continued to advocate for “peer pressure” in convincing people to get vaccinated. 

“I’m not sure a sophisticated, targeted marketing campaign is necessarily what it takes to get a 22-year-old out of bed and down to the vaccination site,” he said. “I think it is folks that they trust, folks that they admire, that give them that added impetus to do it, or often a friend.” 

Geballe referenced research at the federal level looking at motivations for not getting vaccinated and identifying which messages and messengers resonate. He said Connecticut is weighing replicating similar research, including “micro targeting specific street blocks and neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates.”

On Saturday, Connecticut lifted some longstanding restrictions. Restaurants and entertainment venues were allowed to remain open until midnight, alcohol could be served without food outside, and there were no longer limits on table size. 

Come May 19, all remaining restrictions will be lifted except the indoor mask mandate.

“I know the restaurants really thought getting from 11 to 12 was important; they could get a second seating,” Lamont said. “They said ‘we’re going to be very strict about controlling what’s going on there,’ so I tend to think that there was a fair amount of demand.”

New York and New Jersey are joining Connecticut in eliminating various COVID-19 restrictions on May 19.

Updated COVID-19 statistics

Since Friday, 1,312 additional cases of COVID-19 were reported throughout the state, bringing the total to 340,525. Nearly 74,000 tests have been reported since Friday with a positivity rate of 1.78%.

Hospitalizations decreased during the weekend, with 41 fewer people since Friday, bringing the total number of people now hospitalized in the state to 342. There have been 15 more deaths in the three days, bringing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths to 8,112. 

New London County has 24 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. The county has 22,017 total cases and 442 deaths.




Loading comments...
Hide Comments
Stay up to date with The Day's breaking coronavirus coverage
Sign up to receive our daily coronavirus newsletter