Gov. Ned Lamont has announced the state has made enough progress vaccinating the age groups (45-and-older) already eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, that the CT Department of Public Health will move up the date it will begin vaccinating the next age cohort. Originally April 5, now Thursday, April 1 will be the date residents age 16-44 can register to receive the vaccine.

At his Thursday press briefing, Lamont lauded the state’s vaccination rate as one of the top three in the country, and the reason he’s making April 1 the day all adults in CT will become eligible.

“Because of the accelerating ability to get people vaccinated, we’re getting people vaccinated at a higher percentage, and more importantly, we’re getting a lot more vaccines,” he said.

Lamont credits the pace at which the state has been moving for the “flexibility as we aggressively go vaccinate people.”

“We’ve got 80% of our folks, 75-and-above, [vaccinated]. If we can get 80% of all of our population we’ll be doing pretty well. And 38% of all of our adults, 16-and-above have now received their first dose, 38% and that’s ramping up,” he said, adding that next week there will be an additional 200,000 vaccinations appointments available.

It’s the state’s age-based approach to rolling out the vaccine distribution that Lamont says has made a difference and saved lives.

“That represents tens of thousands of people who have been vaccinated, who are safe and that’s reflected in lower complications and fatalities.

Officials anticipate that there will be a “rush at the gate” on April 1, as residents flood the online and phone scheduling systems, as has happened each prior time a new group has become eligible to get vaccine appointments.

“We understand that, but we’re finding we had a fair number of doses available in our appointment schedule as days went on,” he said, adding that anyone age 45 and older who still needs an appointment should be able to next week. “Check frequently because every day we get new doses, new, appointments open up and that’ll be a very important opportunity.”

This is a developing story, and we’ll have more on Friday, March 26.