As of yesterday, people ages 16 to 44 are now eligible to receive vaccinations for COVID-19 in Connecticut, according to a statement from Governor Ned Lamont.
“Everybody is now available, 16 and over,” Lamont said in a press briefing Thursday “We made 100,000 appointments today.”
Right now, high school and college students have the opportunity to book appointments to receive their dose of the vaccine at pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid as well as many of their local health care providers.
University of Connecticut students who wish to schedule a vaccine appointment can also do so through UConn Health’s website. To do so, they will need to register for a MyChart account which will allow them to self-schedule their appointment.
Those who are looking to book appointments can visit the following sites, where you will need to make an account before signing up for an appointment before receiving your free vaccine: Walmart, Walgreens, Stop and Shop and Price Chopper. Places offering appointments without making an account include CVS and RiteAid.
In the wake of this expansion, which offers vaccinations to the widest age range seen yet, one Facebook group, the New York/Connecticut Vaccine Hunters and Angels, has expressed concern that opening vaccinations to the 16-44 age range may take doses away from the older at-risk population.
Luke Izzo, 16, of North Branford, Connecticut, and a moderator of the group’s Facebook page, said they started with the goal of finding excess doses of COVID-19 vaccines for people who most desperately needed them.
“The eligibility opened up too soon,” said Izzo. “We’re not done vaccinating people 45 plus.”
Izzo is concerned that younger people, like himself, will be rushing out to get the vaccine. He said he believes anyone with a pre-existing condition should go get the vaccine, but anyone who is healthy should wait a week or two to allow those vaccines to go where they’re needed most.
Part of the reason Izzo became a moderator, he said, was to capture the voice of younger people. With vaccinations opening up to 16 and up yesterday, he believes his voice has become increasingly important.
Izzo had this message for the UConn student body, “Help out your parents, help out your grandparents, help out your grandparents friends, help out your parents friends.”
According to Izzo, the main focus of this group in the beginning was to hunt down extra doses for members of the at-risk population.
Before “vaccine hunting” became prevalent, these extra doses would often go to waste. Once the COVID-19 vaccine vial is opened, health-care providers have between 4 and 6 hours to use that vaccine, Izzo said.
The group is still participating in vaccine hunting, but now, with the ability for almost anyone to book an appointment, they have shifted their focus toward helping people find and book their appointments. Its network of round-the-clock members provide “moral support” and resources to the hundreds of thousands who come to the page and are “freaking out about finding appointments,” Izzo said.
Anyone who is at risk, or has a family member who is at risk, is encouraged to visit the group’s page to find an appointment, or learn about how to book one themselves.