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More than 1.3 million now eligible for COVID vaccine in Connecticut as phase 1B kicks off --but is supply ready to meet demand?

Phase 1B officially kicked off Monday, those ages 75 and older first in line to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Connecticut state officials said they are confident they will continue to receive the second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on schedule, but they need the number of initial doses to increase in order to keep up with the demand as Phase 1b gets underway. 

Phase 1B officially kicked off Monday, those ages 75 and older first in line to receive their COVID-19 vaccines at the new mass vaccination site at the former Pratt and Whitney runway in East Hartford.

State officials said although they are receiving between 40,000-80,000 covid vaccine doses per week, it’s not enough to keep up with demand. Although state officials said the federal government has done a good job shipping the correct number of corresponding second COVID-19 doses. 

“We do need the numbers to increase, we’re going to have more capacity to vaccinate people than we’re getting vaccines coming from the federal government,” Connecticut’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said. “The federal government has been good about shipping us exactly the same number of Pfizer doses three weeks after the first doses and the same number of Moderna doses four weeks after the second doses."

With clinics around the state including Norwich, Torrington, and Hartford’s Convention Center, Hartford Healthcare plans to vaccinate up to 2,500 patients per day and said it lines up patients’ second dose appointments’ to when they received their first dose ---ensuring they receive the final vaccine within the recommended 21-28 days. 

“We have received 100% of our dose two orders, for the first four weeks we had availability and the process has been seamless with the Department of Public Health,” Hartford Healthcare Senior Director of Pharmacy Eric Arlia said. “They know how many doses were ordered for dose one and the right order for the dose two supply and it’s all built into our clinic schedules to have dose two available.”

But what happens if you do not receive the second dose within that time frame?

“Really what happens if there is a delay of dose two being administered, it just delays getting to that 90-94% effectiveness rate,” Arlia said. 

State and health officials said they’re working together to ensure vaccine doses do not go to waste. Hartford Healthcare said vaccine disposal could happen if the vaccine reaches its refrigerated expiration date, if someone cancels their appointment last minute or if there are partial vials left over at the end of the day. 

“Every clinic that’s running, we give them specific instructions to have a waiting list of people that are also eligible in that phase, so if you get cancellations at the end of the day you can call other people in to take those doses,” Geballe said. “We don't want anything going in the trash, we want every dose going into an arm here in Connecticut.”