HARTFORD (AP) — Hundreds of Connecticut schoolteachers were able to sign up for coronavirus vaccine appointments before they were actually eligible, due to confusion over the rollout rules, a newspaper reported Monday.
State Health Department spokesperson Maura Fitzgerald told The Hartford Courant the issue arose after some school districts mistakenly put their entire staff rosters into a registration system when the state actually had asked only for lists of school nurses. The nurses were eligible for vaccination as health care providers.
Teachers in those districts got automated emails confirming their registrations. That enabled them to make appointments to get the shots, and an unknown number did so, the newspaper said.
“A good amount” of Cromwell Public Schools’ 300 staffers have signed up for vaccination appointments, Superintendent Enza Macri said.
“I did not give anybody my blessing. It happened on its own, and it was an error on the system’s behalf,” said Macri, adding that “the messages are very unclear.”
Glastonbury Public Schools also broadly registered its staff, but Superintendent Alan Bookman said officials quickly realized the mistake, told ineligible staffers not to book appointments and retracted the erroneous registrations.
Berlin Public Schools told all staffers by email to sign up for vaccine appointments, thinking they were allowed to do so — only to instruct the staff to cancel the appointments after recognizing they weren’t, Superintendent Brian Benigni said.
Then, in another turn, the state advised that those who have made appointments should keep them, although no one else who’s ineligible should make one.
Josh Geballe, the state’s chief operating officer, told the Courant that canceling appointments “could create issues in scheduling,” and Fitzgerald said the state’s “overarching goal is: No doses go wasted.”
Some school superintendents said they worried that the mix-up could delay vaccinations for those who are eligible and in need, such as residents who are 75 or older.
“The last thing I want to do is get in front of anyone that needs the vaccine at this moment,” Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Rodriguez-Torres said. “I am part of a larger community, and I hope that others across the state approach it that way.”