Gov. Ned Lamont says the winter storm that was expected to drop more than a foot of snow on much of Connecticut on Monday forced the postponement of about 10,000 COVID-19 vaccinations and delayed the arrival of the weekly supply of vaccine into the state.
The governor on Monday asked that providers who were forced to cancel appointments reschedule them and extend their hours if necessary to get all those shots in arms by the end of the week.
“We’ll make up for that lost day and everybody will be caught up by Sunday,” Lamont said.
The governor said the weekly shipment of vaccines did not arrive as expected Monday afternoon. But, he said trucks delivering vaccines are exempted from a travel ban on tractor-trailers and the state is expected to get this week’s allocation of 98,000 first and second doses on Tuesday morning.
While many clinics paused operations during the storm, Lamont said he was not concerned that any of the vaccines that were thawed for use on Monday would go to waste.
“The vaccines, kept refrigerated, are good for eight to 10 days, so that’s not a problem,” he said. “And if this is three or four weeks since your first vaccination, if it gets put off a few days, don’t worry, it will still stay very effective.”
In other coronavirus news:
BY THE NUMBERS
The state recorded another 73 coronavirus-related deaths over the weekend, bringing the total during the pandemic to 7,119.
But hospitalizations dropped to 912, down 73 patients since Friday, according to the governor’s office.
Connecticut’s seven-day positivity rate is 4.79%, down from 6.68% on Jan. 17.
State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Connecticut the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
Lamont said because of a declining positivity rate in Connecticut, he is easing some COVID-19 related restrictions.
Houses of worship will still be required to limit attendance at services to 50% capacity, but Lamont lifted the numerical cap that barred more than 100 worshipers at a time in even the state’s largest churches.
The Supreme Court has recently ruled against similar numerical restrictions on religious services implemented in New York and Colorado.
The governor also said he is extending the closing time for restaurants from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Lamont said should the number of cases continue to drop, he also will consider allowing some fans back into sporting events.
Lamont said he doesn’t anticipate allowing residents to choose which COVID-19 vaccine they will receive as different brands become available.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses, are reported to be about 95% effective at blocking the original strain of the coronavirus.
Tests on the upcoming Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires just one dose, found the shot 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and much more protective - 85% - against the most serious symptoms.
“These vaccines are all incredibly effective in keeping you out of the hospital and preventing death,” the governor said. “So, I would not get hung up on the brand name and I’d be happy with the fact that when the vaccine is available to me, take it.”
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