Connecticut's new vaccination plan is 'curve ball' to some groups

A day after Gov. Ned Lamont announced he was changing Connecticut's vaccination program to do away with prioritizing those with preexisting conditions and essential workers, some residents lamented the change. 

"It's great to see an endpoint, but as a parent, as a human, it's incredibly frustrating," Victoria Davis said.

Her son Wyatt, 25, is severely disabled with several medical conditions. The Westport family anticipated he would be next up for his shot. Now, she says, his life will continue to be on hold.

"Since COVID, since March 12, he has not left home to his program," Davis said, adding the lack of socialization has impacted him developmentally.

Connecticut shifts to age-based vaccine rollout

The Davises are not the only ones disappointed by the change in the rollout, which breaks from the CDC's recommendations and prioritizes vaccines strictly by age group. The state's essential workers, who work in sectors ranging from transportation to grocery stores, say they've been putting themselves at risk for a year and should get some kind of priority.

"We were thrown a curve ball yesterday with the announcement," said Wayne Pesce, the president of the Connecticut Food Association, which represents some 30,000 grocery workers. "We're having some difficult conversations with associates based on the fact that we were led to believe those people would be next in line to get vaccinated based on the fact they're essential workers during the pandemic."

One group that will get their turn as expected beginning March 1 is teachers. Lamont said specially dedicated clinics will be set up for educators who teach in person.

"I was more than a little bit excited," said Sheena Graham, a performing arts teacher at Bridgeport's Warren Harding High School and has been teaching in-person since the fall.

"It's a huge step in the right direction to get our schools back to a sense of normalcy and that will benefit the entire community," she said.

Even those who are disappointed that they'll now have to wait months longer say there is one major plus to Lamont's plan: He has specified actual dates for when each age group will be eligible, taking away a lot of the uncertainty.