How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut
Eligible individuals can schedule appointments through Yale Health, the Yale New Haven Hospital, the state of Connecticut and local pharmacies.
Regina Sung, Contributing Photographer
Connecticut residents between the ages of 16 and 45 are eligible to sign up for vaccines beginning Thursday, which means that most Yale students in residence can now sign up for an appointment.
As the state prepares for a flood of registrations, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont noted in a press conference on Monday that not everyone who becomes eligible will be able to make an appointment on April 1. He has warned 16 to 45-year-olds not to “rush the gate” at the same time. While vaccinations are open to students now, Lamont instructed vaccine distribution centers to give priority to high-risk individuals before students. These high-risk groups include people with sickle cell disease, end-stage renal disease and Down syndrome, as well as people in active cancer treatment or who have organ transplants.
Here’s what you need to know before booking a vaccine appointment:
- The vaccine is free regardless of insurance status. Some locations may ask for insurance and opt to bill health care providers, but this should come at no cost to the individual. Yale Health members — including all Yale students — can print a version of their Yale insurance here, along with pharmacy billing codes.
- When heading to a vaccine appointment, individuals should bring a mask, their insurance card, Yale or otherwise, and a photo ID. Individuals should not schedule appointments at more than one vaccination site.
- Individuals should make sure to receive and keep safe their vaccine card, which they will likely have to show for their second vaccine dose appointment for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
- Individuals are expected to return to the same clinic or location at which they got their first dose to get their second, keeping in mind that Pfizer vaccine doses are taken 21 days apart, and Moderna vaccine doses are taken 28 days apart. People between the ages of 16 and 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
- Due to a low supply of vaccines from the state and allocation priorities for high-risk individuals, Yale has urged students to pursue vaccine opportunities offered outside the University.
- According to the CDC, individuals are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks have passed since their final vaccine dose, meaning a second Pfizer or Moderna dose or a single Johnson and Johnson dose.
There are four principal ways for newly-eligible Yale community members — including most students — to get the vaccine: through Yale Health, the Yale New Haven Hospital, the state of Connecticut and local pharmacies.
Some locations will list which vaccines they provide, allowing students some say in the vaccine they will receive — all of which have extremely high efficacy. Student Health Chief Christine Chen ’93 wrote in an email to Yale students that “the most effective vaccine is the one that gets into your arm.”
Through the Yale program
On Thursday, students will receive an email with a MyChart link to schedule an appointment at the Lanman Center. Spangler noted in an email to the News that to accommodate significant demand, appointments will not open all at once, but will likely become available throughout the day on April 1 and the following days.
Once students have received an invitation, they may routinely check the Yale Program website for available slots until they are able to schedule an appointment. A student may also reschedule or cancel an appointment through MyChart by clicking the “Visits” tab and following the instructions under “Appointments.” Yalies should receive an email confirmation upon making their appointment and also upon rescheduling.
Yale New Haven Health has posted an instructional video outlining these steps via the MyChart mobile app.
Vaccine appointments will generally last 15 to 20 minutes. After receiving a dose, an individual will be placed in an observation area for 15 minutes before leaving. During an individual’s time at the clinic, they should receive instructions on how to schedule an appointment for the second dose.
Through Yale New Haven Hospital
Yale Health and Yale New Haven Hospital have separate vaccination programs. Those eligible also have the option of signing up through the hospital’s program.
To schedule an appointment through the hospital, students should use the hospital’s website and check for availability. On the site, they have the option of making an appointment as a guest or through a MyChart account.
YNHH also provides a calendar that lists the network’s locations and the types of vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — available at each site. YNHH will operate sites throughout the state of Connecticut, but appointments should only be made for locations to which patients can return for a second dose.
Through the state of Connecticut
The CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System, or VAMS, helps residents of any state schedule vaccine appointments. Connecticut residents can refer to the state-specific online vaccine portal in order to find testing sites near them. After filling out a form at the above link, eligible Connecticut residents will receive a confirmation email with a link to VAMS that allows them to book an appointment at clinics throughout the state. Instructions on how to create a VAMS account can be found on the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s website.
VAMS periodically updates their website with sign-up slots as appointments become available, so routinely checking the website after submitting one’s information and confirming one’s identity can help residents find an appointment. Insurance is not required to use VAMS. The state of Connecticut’s website also has a resource page for residents to enter their zip code for compiled local resources on getting vaccinated.
Yalies who are not in New Haven but are eligible for the vaccine in their state can also use the VAMS platform to find local vaccination clinics.
At local pharmacies
Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and local New Haven pharmacies all have opportunities for New Haveners to get vaccinated. The vaccine is free of charge, but some locations may require insurance to schedule appointments. Since students are automatically enrolled in Yale Health’s basic health care plan, they can present their Yale insurance cards if asked, downloadable here.
As with the other methods, pharmacy websites automatically update frequently and are worth monitoring. Some offer opportunities to sign up for email alerts to receive notifications of available slots.
Other local New Haven pharmacies are also receiving doses. Calling or going to the businesses to check are also options to secure a vaccine.
Students will have multiple opportunities throughout the remainder of the semester to schedule appointments through the various methods listed above. Lamont said in Monday’s press conference that the state plans to provide single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine opportunities geared towards college campuses statewide in May before students head home for summer break.
“We are hopeful and anticipate getting vaccines, specifically Johnson and Johnson in early May specifically for students,” Spangler wrote in an email to the News. “As this is a one-dose vaccine, it is possible they can still be vaccinated by the end of the semester. This is not confirmed as of today, but we do expect it.”
About 97.6 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Wednesday, according to the CDC.
Ángela Pérez | firstname.lastname@example.org