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State, health care organizations begin rollout of Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots

Following a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation late Thursday night, state and local health officials sought to get the word out Friday that those eligible for a booster dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine may pursue one immediately.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend that the booster be administered to those 65 and older who completed the primary, two-dose course of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. Also eligible are those who live in long-term care facilities and those 50 to 64 years of age who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to heart disease, diabetes or other serious health conditions.

Those 18 to 49 years of age who have an underlying condition also may consider getting a booster.

In addition, those at risk of catching the disease because of their work environment — health care workers, teachers and others who work in crowded settings — may consider getting a booster, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said, overruling the objections of the CDC advisory panel.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health responded immediately to the CDC's recommendation, encouraging those eligible for a booster to visit ct.gov/covidvaccine to locate a vaccination site near them. Nearly 800 locations stand ready to administer boosters during the next week, the department announced.

The DPH stressed that there is a more than adequate supply of vaccine available.

During a virtual news briefing, Hartford HealthCare officials asked Friday that people eligible for the booster go online to schedule an appointment at one of the health system’s 17 vaccination clinics. Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer, said that while it was not entirely clear which at-risk workers were eligible for the booster, he expected further guidance from the CDC by Monday.

People should bring their vaccine card to their booster appointment, Eric Arlia, Hartford HealthCare’s pharmacy system director, said. Vaccination sites will verify that those seeking the booster received the second Pfizer shot at least six months ago, he said.

Those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not yet been cleared for a booster shot.

The Yale New Haven Health System announced it was administering the Pfizer booster shots as well as third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those with compromised immune systems.

Vaccination appointments can be made on the YNHHS website, ynhhs.org/covidvaccine. More appointments are being added as vaccine is made available to ensure that there is sufficient supply for all scheduled patients.

The shots are available, by appointment only, at:

  • Northeast Medical Group office, 194 Howard St., New London
  • YNHHS Site, 200 Orchard St, New Haven
  • Bridgeport Hospital Primary Care Center Building, 226 Mill Hill Ave., Bridgeport
  • Northeast Medical Group office, 4a Devine St., North Haven
  • Northeast Medical Group office, 1152 Kings Highway cutoff, Fairfield

The state’s metrics improved Friday compared to the previous day, with 470 new cases of the coronavirus detected among 24,490 new test results. That translates to a low, one-day positivity rate of 1.88%.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 282, unchanged from the day before.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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