Demand for vaccine in state drops 50% over 2 weeks

Demand for COVID-19 vaccinations in Connecticut has decreased by about 50% over the past two weeks, prompting state officials to now focus heavily on reaching people — especially younger residents — with the state’s fleet of mobile vaccination vans and walk-up vaccinations at more than 100 existing clinics.

Gov. Ned Lamont said plans are underway to bring the vans to large workplaces, fairs, parades and other large gatherings.

“We’re doing everything we can to make the last of our folks, the 34% who aren’t vaccinated — I hope they get vaccinated — vaccinated soon,” the Democrat said during his regular COVID briefing with reporters.

As of Thursday, more than 1.32 million residents have been fully vaccinated.

Lamont said he’s concerned to see demand among the 16 to 44-year-old bracket flattening at an approximate 45% vaccination rate. Demand for vaccinations is flattening out for other age groups as well. The governor said his administration is trying to be “extra aggressive” with incentives to encourage people to get a shot, launching campaigns such as the #CTDrinksOnUs partnership with the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

Beginning May 19, participating restaurants will offer complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to patrons who show they’ve received either one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The purchase of food is required. As of Thursday, more than 160 restaurants had signed up to participate with the promotion, Lamont said.

In other coronavirus-related news:



Beginning Saturday, outdoor restrictions at bars and restaurants will be lifted. That means alcohol can be served outside without food and there will be no limit on table sizes outdoors.

Also, the state’s 11 p.m. curfew on businesses will be moved to 12 a.m.

The state tentatively plans on May 19 to lift all pandemic-related restrictions on restaurants, except required mask-wearing indoors when not dining.

Lamont said Thursday he is leaning toward keeping the indoor mask mandate, which also applies to other businesses such as grocery stores, in place for now. He said store and restaurant owners have said their customers feel more comfortable when they see others wearing face masks indoors and have asked him to “take the heat” and make it a requirement a little longer.

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