EDITORIAL: Vaccine advice: Keep trying

EDITORIAL: Vaccine advice: Keep trying

Gov. Ned Lamont recently urged residents 65 years and older to be patient about getting vaccination appointments, which officially opened up on Feb. 11, as the shipments of vaccine the state receives vary from week to week. There are about 300,000 people in Connecticut in that age cohort who haven't been vaccinated yet.

Indeed, there has been considerable confusion over how to make an appointment. Various websites that were set up for that purpose have reported heavy traffic and users have often been told to try again later. Some residents in the 65-and-older group have already been vaccinated but had to drive long distances to get the shots. Others have been able to make appointments in April or later, while people they know have been scheduled to get their first shot this week.

“So this is going to take a little more patience,” Lamont said last week, when 61% of the state's population that's 75 years and older had been vaccinated, compared to 13% of those aged 65 to 74. “But I'd like to think those number of vaccines could ramp up in a couple of weeks.”

Lamont also said he expects doctors will reach out to those patients they believe are “high risk” and prioritize them for shots, but the details were still being finalized.

It is certainly regrettable that appointments have been so hard to set up. This is especially difficult for those who don’t have computer skills, or access to a computer, and have tried in vain to get scheduled over the phone. But even those who go online have reported finding no availability and having to make repeated attempts, often in vain.

But the situation has been improving, and one day can make a big difference in the results. At this time, several alternatives exist:

■The VAMS online system: The federal government’s Vaccine Administration Management System can be used to schedule appointments at multiple clinics across the state. Click on https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccinations. The VAMS Appointment Assist Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, at 877-918-2224.

■Hartford HealthCare has multiple locations throughout the state, including large clinics in the Hartford area. Go to https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/coronavirus/vaccine. Those with a MyChartPlus account can start there and follow the prompts.

■Yale New Haven Health has multiple locations throughout the state, including large clinics in the New Haven area. Go to https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/vaccine/get-your-covidvaccine.

■Walgreen is currently offering the vaccine at 12 locations and will soon be adding more across the state. To use this system, go to https://www.walgreens.com/topic/covid19vac/CT.jsp.

■CVS is currently offering the vaccine in four locations (Colchester, Putnam, Waterford, and Windsor Locks) and will be expanding to more locations soon. Go to https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/covid-screener/covidqns.

■Walmart will be offering the vaccine at seven locations across the state (Hartford, New Haven, North Windham, Norwalk, Torrington, Waterbury and West Haven). Go to https://www.walmart.com/cp/.

Patience may be required with any of these systems, but users report that progress is being made.

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