AARP Connecticut sent the below letter to Governor Ned Lamont calling for a continued focus on the need to equitably, safely and effectively distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
February 22, 2021
Dear Governor Lamont:
AARP Connecticut, on behalf of our nearly 600,000 members and all older Connecticut residents, appreciates the efforts you have undertaken to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis we face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your attention to vaccinating the age 65+, nursing home residents and staff, vulnerable communities, and front line workers is commendable, and we are pleased with the data collection and transparency Connecticut has provided regarding infection rates, related deaths and vaccine administration. We are also very appreciative of your recent announcement that civil immunity for nursing homes and other health care facilities will cease on March 1, 2021.
Please know that AARP is advocating at the federal level to ramp up production and distribution so that everyone who wishes to be vaccinated can do so. Until that time, we acknowledge the many challenges the state must confront in determining how to equitably, safely and effectively distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and we offer the following recommendations.
Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 95 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 have been among people 50 and older. The data clearly show that the older people are, the higher risk they face if they contract COVID-19. Given that older individuals are at a greater risk of death from COVID-19, we strongly urge you to ensure that Connecticut residents age 50 and older are prioritized to receive a vaccine. These individuals must be given priority access to vaccines.
We also strongly urge the state to prioritize those individuals who receive long-term services and supports in their own homes and communities. For years, the long-term care system has been shifting away from institutional care in nursing homes to home and community-based settings (HCBS). Here in Connecticut, nearly two-thirds of long-term services and supports are provided in home or community settings. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to prioritize people receiving care in these additional settings to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and the staff who provide care. We have been pleased to work with senior center personnel in Connecticut to help share strategies to reach this population, and those who are home bound or unable to travel for the vaccine. We are happy to engage more formally in this area moving forward.
We cannot stress enough how eager people are in Connecticut to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, which offers so much promise for a return to normalcy. There is incredible demand from our members for more information about when and how they can get a vaccine. AARP Connecticut stands ready to work with you and support your efforts to get information to people as quickly as possible. We are updating www.aarp.org/CTVaccine regularly with state specific information and community resources. We have mailed postcards to members, purchased targeted advertising, and hosted educational forums -online and over the telephone with leading experts. In addition, and our volunteers are phone banking to age 75+ members who are in underserved communities and/or are in towns with lower vaccination rates. We will continue our education and outreach efforts for as long as necessary and we are happy to engage with your administration whenever it might be helpful.
If you have questions or wish to discuss further, please contact me.
Nora L. Duncan, State Director
This story is provided by AARP Connecticut. Visit the AARP Connecticut page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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