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State urges patience as Phase 1B begins and lessons are learned to improve ease of access

With a lot of people 75 and older trying to book their vaccination at the same time, the state has acknowledged that there will be hiccups.

CONNECTICUT, USA — The state is transitioning into Phase 1B of COVID vaccinations. Already, less than 24 hours after the rollout, people are having trouble booking their appointments. You’ll hear this word a lot. "Patience!" With a lot of people 75 and older trying to book their vaccination at the same time, the state has acknowledged that there will be hiccups. "We will be lucky if we get our vaccine by June," remarked Gail Kamm of Enfield who has been having trouble booking her appointment.

Phase 1B was originally supposed to be limited to 800,000 people that the state thought could get vaccinated in 10 weeks, but following recommendations from the CDC, the phase was expanded to 1.3-million residents estimated to take 16 weeks. "We can only give out as many vaccines as we have doses so our message to the public today is please be patient," said Connecticut Department of Public Health Interim Commissioner Deidre Gifford. Right now, only people 75+ can book an appointment. "It will take time for us to get to the other members of phase 1B. We are starting with 75+ but it will take time," said Dr. Gifford.

You can make your appointment either online through the Vaccine Administration Management System or (VAMS) portal or through the separate websites set up by big providers like UConn Health, Hartford Healthcare and Yale-New Haven. "For the average person to have to put in Passcodes and not even simple Passcodes. They want you to put in a name with a character and a lowercase. I think it’s confusing for older people. I have difficulty and I work on the computer all the time," remarked Kamm.

You can also call the phone hotline. If you are successful in booking an appointment, easy access is essential too. Gerald Richard wrote FOX61 and asks, “What are we supposed to do, and why are we in the Northwest corner of the state left out of the network?" Torrington Area Health District Director Robert Rubbo says they alone are running three clinics now. "Yes, we would be looking to expand the number as well. Again, it’s all going to depend on the accessibility to the vaccine. We would like to hopefully at some point add some weekend clinics along with the weekday clinics that we are doing. And from my understanding, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and Hartford Healthcare will also be running clinics in our area right in the town of Torrington and we are hopeful that the pharmacies will come on board as well soon."

The state will soon be making a map available where you can see where the more than 100 vaccination providers are located across the state.

Please remember, if you are helping someone else make an online appointment, make sure you use their email address or create one for them. If you use your own, then when it comes time for you to get the vaccine the system will recognize you’ve already used that email address and won’t let you do it again.

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