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Omicron boosters available at some Connecticut locations, while others await supply

SYLHET, BANGLADESH - JULY 19: Doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine during a health campaign at UCEP Ghasitula School campus in Ward 10 of Sylhet City Corporation, Bangladesh. On July 19, 2022 in Sylhet, Bangladesh. (Photo credit should read Md Rafayat Haque Khan/Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Md Rafayat Haque Khan/Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images
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Getty
Doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine during a health campaign at UCEP Ghasitula School campus in Ward 10 of Sylhet City Corporation, Bangladesh, n July 19, 2022.

Some pharmacies and providers in the state are now offering an updated booster shot against the original coronavirus and the highly contagious omicron variants ahead of an expected winter COVID-19 surge.

The new Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots – approved for anyone age 12 and older and 18 and older, respectively – are now available at select locations, including through Hartford HealthCare and CVS pharmacies.

UConn Health and Walgreens Pharmacy will begin administering shots Wednesday. A Yale New Haven Health spokesman told Connecticut Public Radio that the group is in the planning stages for distribution. And some other providers, like Trinity Health of New England, are still waiting for the boosters they ordered.

“Some of our vaccine sites might only have one brand to offer,” said Eric Arlia, vice president of pharmacy services for Hartford HealthCare. “I’m hoping that that’s only for one week. Normally, we offer one brand in the morning and one brand in the afternoon so people have choice.”

Arlia says tailoring the COVID-19 vaccine to the strains that are currently circulating will become as familiar as what we’ve grown to expect with the flu vaccine each year.

“In a sense, it’s almost our first step towards normalizing,” he said.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has pre-ordered 200,000 doses of the COVID booster. Spokesperson Christopher Boyle said appointments may be hard to book in the first week or two, but they don’t expect a shortage.

Appointments can be scheduled now at hartfordhealthcare.org and online at CVS. The pharmacy is also accepting walk-ins at select locations.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.
Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.