AARP Connecticut Letter to Gov. Lamont Addresses Need for Equitable, Safe and Effective Vaccine Distribution

Posted on 01/11/21


In light of the many challenges the state must confront in determining how to equitably, safely and effectively distribute COVID-19 vaccines, AARP Connecticut sent the letter below to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.

January 8, 2020

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. Even as millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines are shipped across the country, it will be critical 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.

In order to increase public awareness of vaccine allocations and improve confidence in a fair distribution process, it is important that all Connecticut residents have access to accurate and transparent information. While the State’s vaccine webpage is informative and easy to use, we urge you to use this site to regularly post updates on vaccine administration including:

  • the numbers and percentages of older Connecticut residents, by race and ethnicity, that have been vaccinated;
  • the numbers and percentages of long-term care residents, by facility, that have received their first and second doses of vaccines;
  • the numbers and percentages of long-term care staff, by facility, that have received their first and second doses of vaccines.

Finally, AARP Connecticut urges you to ensure that all providers are fully complying with established state procedures for vaccine distribution and prioritization. We urge you to investigate and take swift action against anyone who attempts to commit fraud, including by inappropriately selling the vaccine or intentionally providing vaccines to those who do not meet qualifying criteria in an attempt to circumvent the distribution process. Public confidence in the vaccine and its fair distribution is dependent on the state’s strong oversight and enforcement.
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 grateful for the work that Connecticut has already undertaken to ensure that residents of long-term care facilities and healthcare personnel are vaccinated. Thank you, and congratulations on the successful rollout of Phase 1a.

Sincerely,

Nora L. Duncan, State Director
AARP Connecticut

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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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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