The online vaccination signup for Connecticut residents 55 years and older will start at 8 a.m. today, but not everyone is going to be able to get the vaccine in the first week or even get one scheduled.
With more than 500,000 individuals in the 55+ population and another 160,000 educators and childcare workers, a weekly supply of around 130,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government, and individuals who remain eligible from previous phases, the state anticipates that demand for the vaccine will far outweigh the supply.
The Department of Public Health is urging patience.
“We anticipate that our online scheduling systems and the Vaccine Appointment Assist Line will be inundated tomorrow and for the next several days with people eager to make their vaccine appointments. It’s a good problem to have, and we have increased our capacity to better handle the anticipated surge in volume, but it will still require people to be patient when signing up,” Acting Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said.
To ease the burden on the online and phone systems the state is asking residents 55 and older to consider waiting a few days before seeking an appointment.
“New appointments will become available each week and this will help reduce stress on the system in the early days of the roll out. We are all in this together, and we as this new group opens Monday. Newly eligible residents are urged to be patient and recognize most will not be able to schedule their appointment first thing Monday morning due to limited vaccine supply,” Gifford said.
In response to the anticipated spike in demand for vaccine appointments, the Vaccine Appointment Assist Line (877-918-2224), run by United Way of Connecticut/211, has increased the capacity of the phone system and the number of staff answering calls. 300 staff will be answering calls. The system is able to manage 1,050 calls at any one time. If that number is exceeded, callers should hear a fast busy signal to indicate that they will need to try again later.
To register online go to the state’s vaccine portal at https://portal.ct.gov/vaccine-portal/
Connecticut residents age 55 and older will be eligible March 1, followed by people 45 and older on March 22, 35 and older on April 12 and 16 and older on May 3.
The state is also expected to receive 30,000 doses of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, in addition to vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. But no one will be able to choose what vaccine they receive.
About 19% of the state has received their first dose of the vaccine, according to state officials.