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Conn. Committee Weighs Vaccine Priorities

Nichelle Mullins
Cassandra Basler
Nichelle Mullins co-chairs the state's vaccine allocation subcomittee.

Public health officials deciding Connecticut’s next round of COVID-19 vaccine recipients are considering vulnerable people living in multi-generational households. Governor Ned Lamont’s COVID-19 vaccine advisory panel discussed federal recommendations for priority groups over Zoom this week.

Tekisha Dwan Everette is executive director of Health Equity Solutions, Inc. She says she disagrees on the federal recommendations to focus only on people age 75 and older for the next vaccine priority.

“I think it ignores a huge group of people who will otherwise die if they don’t get this, and at best, quite frankly, spread to a whole bunch of other people who will have poor outcomes,” Dwan Everette said.

Dwan Everett said race, gender, geography and risk should all be considered in the priorities for who should get vaccinated next. 

Nichelle Mullins co-chairs the allocation subcommittee. Mullins said federal recommendations to prioritize "congregant settings" need to be clarified to meet Connecticut’s needs.

“Some might argue that multigenerational housing could be considered a congregant setting," Mullins said. "So when we have our next meeting, I’d like for us to get into the detail of 'Who is a frontline essential worker?', 'What do we mean by congregant setting?'”

Mullins said the group plans to meet soon after the holidays.

Committee members noted incarcerated people, as well as residents of Section 8 and multi-generational housing are all high-risk groups. State contract tracing workers also reported significant virus spread through multi-generational homes. 

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.