The end of 2020 has coincided with the distribution of the much-coveted COVID-19 vaccine, seemingly wrapping the disastrous year with a neat bow. But the reality of the distribution is a little more complicated.

Wilton medical personnel have already begun getting vaccinated, joining thousands around the country receiving the vaccine under the distribution’s Phase 1. Connecticut has further divided “phase 1” of its vaccine distribution into three subphases.

Under Phase 1a, which the state is currently in, those who can get the vaccine include:

  • Health care personnel “who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients of infectious materials”
  • Residents of long term care facilities
  • First Responders who face risk of COVID-19 exposure

Phase 1.b. is expected to include frontline essential workers and individuals 75 years of age or older, and phase 1.c. is expected to include individuals aged 65 and up and individuals age 16-64 years old with co-morbidities.

As of Monday, Dec. 28, there had been 36,276 people vaccinated in Connecticut, according to Gov. Lamont’s press release. The state estimates that two-thirds of long-term care facilities will have administered the vaccine to staff and residents by the end of the coming weekend.

GOOD Morning Wilton emailed with First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice to get the answers to pressing vaccine questions. Who gets the vaccine in Wilton? When? Where? How?

We have Vanderslice’s answers–as much as she knows at this point. As she’s explained, information has been released slowly and intermittently. She’ll provide updates to residents and employees–and to GMW–as soon as they are available.

GOOD Morning Wilton: When will phase 1a end and when will 1.b. and 1.c. begin, to your knowledge?

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice: Phase 1.a. is expected to be completed by the end of January. Phase 1.b. is expected to begin then and end in the Spring. No greater specificity has been provided by CT DPH or the Governor.

GMW: For individuals in these groups, how do they schedule a vaccine, and where will they be given?

LV: For Phase 1.a., qualified medical personnel and responders are identified by their employers. We assume it will be the same for eligible employees in the Phase 1.b and 1.c [groups].

Here is how it works for Phase 1.a.:  The Town of Wilton, through the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), registered as an employer of essential personnel. We were required to designate an Employer Coordinator as an authorized user. Wilton’s Health Director ultimately determined which employees qualified under Phase 1.a. As appropriate, those employees were entered into VAMS with a certification that they qualify for the vaccine. Those employees received an email generated by VAMS instructing them to register and book a vaccine appointment. VAMS will track the employee’s activity, including sending an email reminder for their second vaccination.

We expect proof of age or medical condition will be required for the members of the general population who qualify in Phase 1.b. or 1.c.

(Editor’s note: The state lists a guide for employers and individuals regarding the vaccine.)

GMW: Who determines the high-risk medical conditions that will ‘identify’ someone for the 1.c. cohort?

LV: We don’t know that yet. The Governor’s [COVID-19] Vaccine Advisory Group is still meeting to determine the final recommendations for 1.b. and 1.c.

The Advisory Group is expected to announce its recommendations for 1.b. in early January.

GMW: When are other phases that allow the general public to receive the vaccine estimated to start?

LV: Initial estimates in early December were that Phase 2 would begin in June.

GMW: Where will the nearest COVID-19 vaccination clinic be located, to your knowledge? Will the town and Visiting Nurses be setting up a vaccine clinic–similar to the town-sponsored COVID testing event that was conducted at Comstock? And will the town actually be getting vaccine doses to store and administer?

LV: Right now vaccinations in this area, other than those for residents and staff of nursing and assisted living facilities, are generally happening at the hospitals or federally qualified medical centers. CT DPH has been working with targeted local health departments, primarily in the larger cities, to have them onboard earlier than the smaller communities.

We expect Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County will receive vaccines by the week of Jan. 11. The plan is for them to administer vaccines for all phases.

GMW: Do residents make their own appointments, or are they contacted? How is this done?

LV: Residents should expect to receive a vaccine in a manner similar to how they received their flu vaccine. The Town will sponsor drive-by clinics in partnership with Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County. Medical doctors, CVS and other drugstores are also expected to provide vaccines.

GMW: Does the town know how many people in Wilton will be able to get the vaccine under phase 1?

LV: No.

GMW: There’s also some public mistrust around a vaccine. What do you have to say to ease people’s fears? 

LV: The one comment I repeatedly hear from medical responders as to why they feel confident being early recipients of the vaccine is the fact that the vaccine doesn’t contain the virus itself. That is an important fact for the public to understand.

In addition, by the time the vaccine is available to the general public, it will have been distributed for more than six months, not only in the U.S. but in countries all around the world. There will be much more evidence about any possible side effects and the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Public education throughout will be critical. It will be a shared responsibility of the federal, state, and local governments.

3 replies on “The Who, What, Where and When of COVID Vaccines in Wilton, According to 1st Sel. Lynne Vanderslice”

  1. I loved reading your holiday greeting message to your readers, which our household fully reciprocates, wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year! And that gorgeous photo, both charming and stunningly beautiful, is for us a keeper. Kudos on all GMW’s great reportage and thank you!

  2. Thank you for information! Do you know if a person who has been vaccinated can still transmit the virus to others if exposed?

  3. This article is not consistent with what Dr. Fauci has stated that all who wish the vaccine will have it by June.

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