Why Connecticut Is Winning the Vaccination Rollout
Here’s what it’s doing right, so far
The vaccine rollout in the United States is progressing — albeit not as quickly as anyone would like. But there isn’t a single “vaccine rollout” — instead responsibility for distributing the vaccines has been delegated to states, and some states are getting shots into arms faster than others. Connecticut is one of those states.
Connecticut was one of the first states in the U.S. to get over 2% of the population vaccinated with the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. It’s also ranked #1 in vaccine distribution in nursing homes, according to local news outlets. As of Wednesday, the state has administered 93,056 doses, according to Bloomberg, which means it has used 62.1% of its shots so far — a notably high percentage compared to other states. New York is at 33.5% of shots used and Massachusetts is at 37.8%. Both are much larger states than Connecticut, but experts say the state has valuable lessons to share.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in a press briefing on Monday that the state is on track to complete the first doses for all nursing home residents and staff who are willing to take the vaccine by the end of this week. Assisted-living facilities will begin to be vaccinated this week as well. Frontline hospital workers and those working in nursing homes are expected to receive both vaccine doses by the end of the month. The state is now meeting to discuss who will be next in line.
So what is Connecticut doing right?
The state brought in a veteran of the management consultancy McKinsey, Benjamin Bechtolsheim, to help implement its vaccination plan. Bechtolsheim is now the director of Covid-19 Vaccination Program at the Connecticut Department of Public Health and is tasked with working across state agencies and with health care providers and community organizations to ensure that everyone in the state will have access to a Covid-19 vaccine.
Perhaps one of the most important factors is that the state’s plan allows for some flexibility in who qualifies for a vaccine, prioritizing getting shots into arms over strictly following a preset roadmap for how vaccines will be distributed.