How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut

Posted on 05/14/21 by Emily Paulin

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

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?

  • People 12 and older who live, work or attend school in Connecticut

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • Local and state vaccination sites, including hospitals, health departments, community health centers, pharmacies, mass vaccination clinics and local events can be found using the state’s Vaccine Finder Search Tool. Enter your ZIP code to explore providers near you. Not all providers use the same scheduling system. Once in the search tool, you will either click "Schedule in Provider Site" or "Schedule in VAMS," meaning the state's Vaccine Administration Management System, to be redirected to that provider’s scheduling platform. Some sites are taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary.
  • Certain retail pharmacies, including Big Y, CVS (and some of its Target-based pharmacies), Rite Aid, Shop Rite, Walgreens and Walmart, have created online COVID-19 vaccine pages where you can search for appointments across their locations. Some locations are taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary.
  • The federal government’s vaccines website, Vaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccination sites by zip code, with links to appointments. You can use the same tool by texting your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine sites. 
  • Connecticut's mobile vaccination unit is travelling through the state during the months of April and May 2021 to administer vaccines to high-risk and vulnerable populations in 17 communities. Municipal and community partners are coordinating outreach and assisting with appointment scheduling. Contact your local health department for more details.
  • At home, but only if you are physically or medically unable to leave your home to get a COVID-19 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. Residents who were prioritized for a vaccination because of their job, such as health care workers, or because of where they live, such as a nursing home, may be able to get vaccinated through their workplaces or the facilities where they reside. Check with your employer or residence before scheduling a vaccination appointment.
  • Call the state’s COVID vaccine appointment line at 877-918-2224 for help scheduling an appointment. The line is taking calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET every day and offers a callback option when all specialists are busy.

AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.

If you are prioritized because of an underlying medical condition or based on your work, you may need a note from your doctor, a pay stub or badge, or some other form of proof. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

How are residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities getting vaccinated?

Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Connecticut are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines via free on-site clinics. Apart from a very small number of outstanding clinics, the program is complete. 

To ensure long-term care facilities still have access to COVID-19 vaccines — for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots — the federal government is continuing to allocate vaccines to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities. 

Which vaccines require a second shot? 

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.  

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot. Federal officials warn that the vaccine has been connected with rare, severe blood clots in a small number of recipients, especially in women age 50 years and younger.

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination?  

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

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 for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy. 

When will kids be able to get vaccinated? 

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those age 12 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he expects that all kids will likely be eligible by early next year. 

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?   

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and after the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, the CDC says, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors and outdoors without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by state and federal law and local business and workplace requirements.

The CDC recommends continuing to wear a mask on planes, buses and trains and other shared transport while traveling into, within or out of the United States, and while at transportation hubs like airports and stations.

 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.
  • "I am Vaccinated – Now What?" forum. On May 25 at 9:30 a.m., the Connecticut Association of Agencies on Aging is hosting a virtual Q&A with Dr. Vivian Argento and registered nurse Ann Dyke, who will answer questions on how to go about life after being vaccinated. Register here.

This guide, originally published Jan. 21, was updated May 14 with the latest guidance from the CDC on mask wearing and social distancing for the fully vaccinated.

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Also of Interest 

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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