Regina Sung, Staff Photographer

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has fast-tracked the state’s vaccine rollout, making Connecticut residents over 16 eligible for the vaccine by April 1. But the University remains uncertain of how many doses of the vaccine it will receive and is urging students to make vaccination appointments elsewhere.

Lamont held a Thursday press conference to announce he is moving up the date for when all adults will be eligible to begin making vaccine appointments. Previously, vaccine appointments would have been available to the general population starting April 5. The change makes it possible for all Yale students to begin receiving vaccinations within the week, but it is unclear when Yale will have a sufficient supply to immunize all students.

“With more people getting vaccinated, we had originally thought April 5 would be a day we could open the door for everybody, regardless of age,” Lamont said at a press conference. “We are going to move that forward a few days to April 1.”

Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, told the News that all Connecticut residents who want a vaccine should have access “probably before the end of April.” 

This is the second time the governor has accelerated vaccine eligibility for all adults. The acceleration comes with an increase in the number of vaccines received from the federal government, including Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the only single-dose option on the market.

Lamont stressed that not everyone will be able to make an appointment on April 1 and urged those in the age group of 16 to 45 to not all “rush the gate” at the same time.

The University has been vaccinating community members and Yale Health members at the Lanman Center. The facility has the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people each day. But even as college-age residents become eligible for the vaccine, vaccine allocations to colleges and universities may be delayed as the state is looking to prioritize socially vulnerable populations and people with conditions that put them at increased risk of severe coronavirus cases. Lamont said he would provide more details about that policy on Monday.

Administrators have urged students to familiarize themselves with MyChart and the state’s portal for vaccination appointments so they can get the first appointment available to them. Once the University receives vaccine inventory from the state, it will issue MyChart appointments to students. Yale has yet to announce how it will roll out the vaccines among students.

Richard Martinello, medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Hospital, encouraged students not to wait for an appointment through the University due to limited supply, even though Yale has heard about more vaccines arriving from the federal government.

“I encourage us all to be patient, especially in the early days of expanded eligibility when supplies of vaccine do not yet meet the potential demand — the state assures us that more vaccine supplies are coming soon,” University COVID-19 Coordinator Stephanie Spangler told the News.

Geballe also said that in the first couple days following April 1, the state does not plan on setting up dedicated clinics for high schools or colleges. He mentioned late April or May as a potential timeline for dedicated clinics in colleges and high schools. For its part, Yale plans to vaccinate students at the Lanman Center, a University-operated site that has been administering vaccines since December 30 to those eligible.

“Really all the kind of people in their young twenties, they don’t have a comorbidity,” Geballe stated. “They are extremely low risk, so that’s a particular group we are going to ask to not rush in in the first couple of days.”

Geballe also mentioned that for 16- and 17-year-olds, the state will prioritize making sure they get a Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for 16- and 17-year-olds. He also mentioned that 16- and 17-year-olds “likely” will have to have a parent present to get vaccinated.

Adults in Connecticut can schedule an appointment by calling the Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224 or by visiting the Vaccine Administration Management System website.

Rose Horowitch | rose.horowitch@yale.edu

Alvaro Perpuly | alvaro.perpuly@yale.edu