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COVID-19 vaccine demand increasing as state positivity rate goes up

The Meriden health director says, since second boosters were approved and the positivity rate has gone up, people are looking for doses.

MERIDEN, Conn. — The Connecticut 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate reached 8.51% Tuesday which is nearly a 5% increase from a month ago.

Senator Chris Murphy announced Tuesday he tested positive for the virus and credits the vaccine for how he feels. Vice President Kamala Harris also announced Tuesday she tested positive.

Meriden Health Director Lea Crown said demand has slightly increased since second boosters were approved for those 50 and older as well as people severely or moderately immunocompromised at least 12-years-old. She said people are also seeking additional protection as the positivity rate increases in the state.

RELATED: First part of child mental health initiative clears state Senate

She said the demand for their weekly clinics is not what it used to be due to the widely available doses at pharmacies and doctor's offices. 

"We’re seeing anywhere between maybe five and 20 individuals," Crown said.

At Tuesday's clinic, 18 people were signed up. Debbie Cofrancesco was one of them getting her second booster.

"We need to be protected. Not only to protect ourselves but I feel we need to protect others," she said. "I don’t people are as good about getting them as they were before."

Lincoln Middle School student Love Thompson received her first booster at the clinic. The seventh-grader said she does not want to get the virus.

Her father, Nikky, said he's proud she is "well-informed" about the virus.

"We have a high-risk child," he said. "It makes me feel proud and happy that she understands the risks and reward behind the vaccine."

This summer will be the first since 2019 with no mandates. Nikky said he saw some people still vigilant about the virus while others don't seem to think about it anymore.

He, and Crown, said the positivity rate is likely higher than it is with the ease of at-home testing.

Cofrancesco, a retired nurse, says the older population seems to be following up with the vaccinations but doesn't think other groups are as well.

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"I don’t people are as good about getting them as they were before," she said.

She said indoor settings are still a concern and is looking forward to summer when people can spread out outdoors. She thinks there needs to be a metric set at which protocols go back in place.

Crown said fatigue from the pandemic is "very real." She said the ever-changing guidance can be frustrating to the public. 

RELATED: Sen. Chris Murphy tests positive for COVID

This month, the mask mandate for public transit like airplanes and buses ended after a judge's ruling. The Justice Department said they will appeal. Also happening this month, UConn reinstated a mask mandate in certain buildings while the state schools say they don't have plans to.

Crown said, if people have questions about eligibility, they should reach out to their health department.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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