Mass vaccination sites in Connecticut on hold while providers await supply

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HARTFORD, CT (AP)–Officials at Hartford HealthCare say their plans to open numerous mass vaccination sites across Connecticut are on hold because they don’t have the supply of vaccine to operate them.

Gov. Ned Lamont said they expect to receive about 55,000 first doses of vaccine this week, up from about 47,000 in recent weeks.

Dr. James Cardon, Hartford HealthCare’s chief clinical officer, said that system’s providers are administering between 4,000-5,000 vaccinations a week at its 17 locations, but have the the capacity to do much more.

“At our current sites, we could get to 5,000 a day if we were to fully open a schedule and staff it as we have prepared,” he said. “But at our mass vaccine sites we have a great deal of flexibility to add many more than that.”

Cardon said they have secured “mega sites” across the state, but are not sure when they will be able to open them.

“We’re poised as many systems are, to try and meet the needs critically,” he said. “Speed is important and our goal continues to be that whatever vaccine we get in at the beginning of the week we have administered by the end of the week.”

Several state providers including UConn Health in Farmington and the Eastern Connecticut Health Network have had to cancel or reschedule clinics this week after receiving less vaccine supply than expected, but Cardon said Hartford HealthCare hasn’t had that issue. He said they have been working closely with the state to make sure no vaccine is wasted and that they make appointments only for the amount of vaccine they are receiving.

The governor has said the state is also being notified three weeks ahead of time as to how much vaccine it can expect. The notice was previously just one week.

“We do have schedules built out longer than we have confidence about the amount of vaccine we’re getting, but at the moment we’ve been able to avoid (cancelations) and for the near future we think we’re lined up pretty well to make sure we won’t have to do that,” Cardon said.

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