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CDC director encourages CT residents to get vaccinated

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen (right) looks toward Maria Melendez (left), at a groundbreaking ceremony for an expansion of the Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven. Melendez was part of a group that started the clinic in the 1970s — responding to the needs of the neighborhood and the lack of Spanish-speaking doctors.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen (right) looks toward Maria Melendez (left), at a groundbreaking ceremony for an expansion of the Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven. Melendez was part of a group that started the clinic in the 1970s — responding to the needs of the neighborhood and the lack of Spanish-speaking doctors.

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen visited the Fair Haven Community Health Care Center in New Haven Thursday to emphasize the need for Connecticut residents to get vaccines.

Dr. Cohen said RSV, the flu and a new COVID-19 variant will be circulating this fall. She is encouraging people to get the new COVID-19 booster and not worry about the cost.

Any costs associated with getting shot should be covered by private insurance and the federal government due to the CDC’s Bridge program which ensures equitable access for uninsured individuals or families.

Anyone is eligible to get vaccinated for free through the Bridge Program at retail pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens.

Dr. Cohen said when it comes to the overall health of the U.S. we’re in a much better position than we were in 2020, or even in the last year.

“About 97% of us have either gotten COVID before or we've been vaccinated. But folks forget that that protection decreases over time. By getting this updated vaccine, now, it allows your body to be in the best fighting shape,” Cohen said.

Dr. Manisha Juthani, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Health, said Connecticut residents have been experiencing appointment cancellations and COVID vaccine shortages but several purchase orders have just been approved.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro receives her COVID booster and a flu shot at the the Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven on Thursday October 5, 2023 before attending a groundbreaking ceremony for an expansion of the center.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro receives her COVID booster and a flu shot at the the Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven on Thursday October 5, 2023 before attending a groundbreaking ceremony for an expansion of the center.

Juthani said vaccines and appointments should become more available to the general public, including children ,in the next couple weeks.

“We’ve been working with our pediatricians in our Connecticut vaccine program to make sure all children are covered in the state,” Juthani said. “Pediatric providers who may not have been ordering COVID vaccines before now are learning again how to do that with all the other vaccines that they normally order.”

Cohen said the new process of ordering Covid-19 boosters is more dependent on the private sector for vaccine rollout.

“Supply is improving,” Juthani said.

As more time passes, she said that the new vaccine should be easier to get, as supply becomes more available.

Lesley Cosme Torres is an Education Reporter at Connecticut Public. She reports on education inequities across the state and also focuses on Connecticut's Hispanic and Latino residents, with a particular focus on the Puerto Rican community. Her coverage spans from LGBTQ+ discrimination in K-12 schools, book ban attempts across CT, student mental health concerns, and more. She reports out of Fairfield county and Hartford.