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As BA.5 variant becomes dominant, Connecticut focuses on COVID-19 vaccines for kids

Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz speaks at a COVID-19 awareness rally for children in New Haven.
Michael Lyle, Jr.
Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz speaks at a COVID-19 awareness rally for children in New Haven.

Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz joined Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani for a COVID-19 awareness rally in New Haven. They said children ages 6 months and older can now receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

A new variant of the coronavirus, BA.5, now makes up 80% of the virus circulating in America, according to the Biden administration.

For that reason, Bysiewicz said it’s urgent for residents to get their children inoculated before the start of the school year next month.

“A lot of kids have to get vaccines in order to attend their first day of school,” said Bysiewicz. “So you have to take the opportunity to have that conversation with your healthcare provider.”

During the rally, physicians from Griffin Hospital offered booster shots and pediatric vaccines inside a pop-up clinic on the New Haven green.

“Our efforts with these types of vaccine clinics are really for that push”, said Juthani. “It’s also a supplement to what we know exists in the community and the pharmacies that are around.”

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said the city plans to hold several clinics at schools for parents to get their children vaccinated in the coming weeks.

Connecticut has a vaccination rate of 93%, while 84% of children 5-years-old and above are fully vaccinated.

About 337 Connecticut residents are hospitalized with COVID-19 this week, which is about 56 patients more than last week, according to federal data. Hospitals in the state have slightly increased to 77% bed capacity with 4.5% of the beds occupied by coronavirus patients.

The CDC recommends vulnerable residents in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and Litchfield counties wear masks indoors to prevent the spread of the virus due to a medium coronavirus community spread level.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.