How and Where to Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters in Connecticut

Posted on 01/10/22 by Emily Paulin

A health care worker receives a COVID-19 vaccine at <br>the Hartford Convention Center.

En español | Who is eligible to get vaccinated?

  • Everyone age 5 and up

Who’s eligible for booster shots? 

Those ages 12 and older who got the Pfizer vaccine should get a booster five months after completing their initial two-shot series, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Moderna vaccine recipients ages 18 and up should get their booster five months after their second shot, and Johnson & Johnson recipients should get a booster dose at least two months after their first shot. The CDC says Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preferable to Johnson & Johnson's due to a rare but serious blood clotting disorder associated with the one-shot vaccine.

Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna, distinct from boosters, are recommended for specific immunocompromised people, including organ transplant recipients and certain cancer patients. These recipients may also get a booster — a fourth dose — at least six months after the third shot, according to CDC guidance. A third Pfizer dose is also recommended for children ages 5 to 11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, 28 days following their second shot.

Can I mix and match boosters?

It’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster – whether it’s the one you got initially or another vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.

Which vaccine is authorized for kids? 

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for children age 5 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Pfizer’s vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds is one-third the dose given to people age 12 and up, and is given in two doses, three weeks apart, according to CDC recommendations. Shots for kids are available at doctors’ offices and certain retail pharmacies. Call your doctor or check pharmacy websites. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months. 

Where can I get a vaccine or booster? 

  • Retail pharmacies, including Big Y, CVS (and some of its Target-based pharmacies), Rite Aid, Shop Rite, Walgreens and Walmart, are offering vaccines and boosters. Many sites let you book appointments for the specific brand of vaccine or booster you prefer, based on availability. Search their online COVID-19 vaccine pages for locations and appointments (some are accepting walk-ins). Note that some pages require you to answer questions about your vaccination status before presenting the option for a booster. 
  • The federal government’s vaccines websiteVaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccines and boosters by zip code. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
  • Local and state vaccination sites, including hospitals, health departments, community health centers, pharmacies, mass vaccination clinics, mobile clinics and local events, are offering vaccines and boosters, with some sites accepting walk-ins. Visit covidvaccinefinder.ct.gov to explore providers near you. Some providers will direct you to the state's Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) to book appointments with them.
  • At home, if you are physically or medically unable to leave your home to get a vaccination. If this includes you, fill out this form for the Department of Public Health (DPH) and a person in your town will contact you. The DPH only shares home-bound vaccination requests with towns once a week on Mondays, so it could take a week or so for you to be contacted.
  • Through your veterans Affairs (VA) health facility. Veterans who receive care from VA health facilities are eligible for vaccinations through the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Caregivers enrolled in the Caregiver Support Program may be eligible, too. Call 203-932-5711, ext. 7784, 5627 or 7754, to schedule an appointment. More information available here. 
  • Through your employer or living facility. Some residents who work or live in healthcare settings, such hospitals or nursing homes, may be able to get vaccinated through their workplaces or residences. Check before scheduling an appointment.
  • Call 211 for help scheduling an appointment. The line is open 24/7. (Anyone who is out-of-state or using Relay can connect to Connecticut 211 toll free by dialing 800-203-1234.)


What should I bring to my vaccination or booster appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, along with your health insurance card, if you have one. You won’t be charged for the initial vaccine series, or a booster shot, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. After your first shot, bring your vaccine card for subsequent shots.

How are vaccinations working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities?

Most residents and staff of Connecticut’s long-term care facilities were offered first and second doses through a federal program that provided free on-site vaccinations in late 2020 and early 2021. The program has ended, but the federal government continues to allocate COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to pharmacies that are partnered with long-term care facilities to provide vaccinations, mainly on-site.  

Facilities that don’t have a pharmacy partner are encouraged to work with local or state health departments — or the federal government, if need be — to provide vaccinations. 

Which vaccines require two initial shots? 

Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination?

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine or a booster. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself.

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

What should I do with my vaccine card? 

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.  

You may need your vaccine card to schedule a third vaccine dose, for certain immunocompromised people, or a booster shot.  You may also need it for certain kinds of travel or other activities and may want to take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. But experts warn that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft.

If you’ve lost your vaccine card, call the site where you were vaccinated to request a new one or a copy of your vaccination record. You can also contact your state health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record.

How protected am I post-vaccination? I’ve heard about breakthrough infections.

 All three vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. But no vaccine is 100 percent effective and breakthrough infections, while relatively rare, have been reported.   

The CDC is tracking breakthrough infections and illness and death among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

Helpful Resources

  • Vaccine Administration Management System User Manual. The state has created an in-depth user manual for vaccine recipients trying to navigate the VAMS. Learn how to create and activate an account, schedule a vaccination appointment, cancel or reschedule an appointment, or get extra help.
  • Transportation Resources to Help You Get to Your COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments. The Southwestern, North Central and Eastern Agencies on Aging have created lists of public and private transportation options in their regions. The state government has also created a Transportation Resources page with information on 2-1-1 and CT Rides, which can connect you with transportation help.
  • Q&A with Dr. Lisa Cuchara: AARP CT State Director Nora Duncan and Quinnipiac University's Lisa Cuchara, a biomedical sciences professor, help you cut through the confusion in with a video-based Q&A.  

  • How to Detect COVID-19 Scams. AARP Connecticut has created a one-page flyer that outlines how common COVID-19 scams work and how you can detect them.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has launched a website featuring the state's COVID-19 vaccine-related data. Explore vaccination rates by age group, race/ethnicity, sex, county, Social Vulnerability Index and more.

This guide, originally published Jan. 21, 2021, was updated on Jan. 10, 2022, with new CDC guidance on booster shots.

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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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