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Connecticut getting more than 92,000 vaccine doses this week

Connecticut was shipped more than 92,300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, the state's health department said Tuesday.

About half of those — 45,650 — are for people receiving their first doses, according to figures provided by the state Department of Public Health. The rest are to be given to people completing their vaccination regimen with a second dose.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday that providers across the state requested more than 150,000 doses this week.

“And that’s where the disconnect is,” Lamont said.

Connecticut officials were told earlier this month that it would be getting thousands of additional doses because of its efficiency in distributing the vaccine. Last week, it received an extra 50,000 vaccine doses on top of its usual weekly supply.

“I’m afraid it was a one-shot deal,” Lamont said. “We got it for just that one week.”

Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, said Connecticut will have received about 585,000 vaccine doses by the end of the week — 398,000 first doses and 187,000 second doses.

Geballe said the state has about two weeks to go before it is able to vaccinate all residents who are 75 years old or older who have requested the vaccine.

The state will then expend the eligibility to those 65 and up, which Gaballe said will take another several weeks. He said only after that, will people with underlying health conditions and certain essential workers, such as teachers, become eligible to schedule a vaccine.

“There just aren’t enough appointments for all the people who want to get vaccinated right now and that’s really the root cause of a lot of the frustrations,” he said.

In other coronavirus-related news:

EXTENDED STATE OF EMERGENCY

Lamont signed a declaration on Tuesday that extends Connecticut’s state of emergency until April 20, despite some concerns raised by Republican legislators over the power that gives the governor.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said he agrees with Lamont’s pandemic-related executive orders and believes those powers are necessary "because there are things that have to be sometimes dealt with very quickly on emergency basis.”

Looney noted that a special committee of legislative leaders, which is controlled by Democrats, can only approve or deny Lamont’s emergency declaration extension. It’s unclear whether the group will meet.

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, and Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said in a joint statement they were disappointed Looney and Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter “balked when presented with an opportunity to reassert the General Assembly as a co-equal branch of government.”

Looney said the legislature will likely look at the dozens of executive orders issued by Lamont to see what should become permanent state policy rather than an ad hoc policy.

Lamont originally declared a civil preparedness emergency and a public health emergency on March 10, 2020. They were initially scheduled to expire on Sept. 9, but were renewed and extended until Feb. 9.

Lamont said that ending them now “would pull a safety net from under the citizens of Connecticut” to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

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JUMPING THE LINE

School officials in part of western Connecticut are taking some heat after COVID-19 vaccines were given to more than 300 education workers at a clinic that also allegedly provided doses to family members of some board of education members, union officials said.

Only those 75 or older, health care workers and those in congregate living centers such as nursing homes are supposed to be getting the vaccine in Connecticut.

The clinic was held at Pomperaug High School in Southbury and was organized by the Pomperaug Health District. It included teachers and staff from District 14, District 15 and Oxford schools.

School officials declined to confirm the union's assertion that some family members were included in the vaccinations, citing medical privacy laws.

They said the clinic was planned before the governor's age restriction was put in place and was allowed to go forward to prevent vaccines from being wasted.

 

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