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Five conditions will be eligible for Connecticut’s “accelerated access” to COVID-19 vaccinations starting April 1
Hartford Courant - 3/29/2021
Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Monday afternoon that Connecticut’s hospital officials have agreed on five conditions that will qualify people for “accelerated access” to COVID-19 vaccinations, once vaccinations open to all residents on Thursday.
Connecticut’s five eligible conditions are:
sickle cell disease
end-stage renal disease, on dialysis
active cancer, in treatment
solid organ transplant
The list does not include a number of conditions that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed high-risk, such as obesity, smoking, pregnancy and heart conditions.
Based on the five-condition list, about 10,000 people in Connecticut will be eligible for “accelerated access,” according to the state’s chief operating officer Josh Geballe.
“These were the conditions that the chief medical officers at the hospitals felt were most worthy of prioritization,” Geballe said.
For those with conditions not on the list, Geballe noted that they will still be able to make appointments when vaccinations open to the general public on Thursday.
“They’ll still have access to vaccine in the next two to three weeks, so their wait is quickly coming to an end,” he said.
“Accelerated access” is not a separate eligibility phase. Instead, patients with one of the five conditions may be able to more easily schedule appointments or may have access to a fixed allocation of doses, depending on the specific vaccinator.
Dr. Thomas Balcezak, Yale New Haven Health’s chief clinical officer, instead described it as a TSA PreCheck line — the patients will still only be able to make appointments once vaccinations open to their age group, but they may be placed in a line that moves a bit more quickly than the general line.
Although Lamont announced the concept of “accelerated access” earlier this month, the state was not involved in the decision-making process, the Courant reported last week. Instead, hospital officials worked together to develop the shortened list on the basis of three guiding principles, including that the conditions must cause increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, be easily verifiable and affect a clear-cut set of patients.
The state has also not mandated that providers follow the list or the general idea of “accelerated access.” While the major hospitals such as Hartford HealthCare, Trinity Health of New England and Yale New Haven Health have agreed to the list, some other types of vaccine providers have already said that they will not be using it.
The Courant reported last week that some community health centers have opted to focus on rapidly vaccinating as many of their patients as they can, in particular because they consider all of their patients to be high-risk.
Even within the subset of providers who are using the list of conditions, the specifics of the “accelerated access” will vary, the Courant previously reported.
For instance, Trinity Health of New England has considered hosting separate clinics for patients with the listed conditions, while Yale New Haven Health plans to set aside some number of doses for those patients.
In addition to the “accelerated access” strategy, state officials said Monday that all patients at the state’s children hospitals will be eligible for the enhanced access, assuming they are at least 16 years old.
The state is also planning separate, designated clinics for people with intellectual or development disabilities. Geballe said there will be about 20 of those clinics, beginning Friday. He said the state estimates there are about 9,000 not-yet-vaccinated people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, who will be contacted by the state Department of Developmental Services to sign up for appointments.
Emily Brindley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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