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Lamont Moves Up Vaccine Eligibility, Defends Emergency Powers

Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont
Brian Scott-Smith
Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont

Connecticut residents 16 and up will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination on April 1, four days earlier than previously planned. Also, an attempt to take away some of Lamont’s pandemic-related emergency powers failed in a party-line vote Thursday.

Governor Ned Lamont said the state will speed up the timeline as more doses are coming in from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

“With more vaccinations, more vaccines, more people getting vaccinated. Again, it’s going to be a rush at the gate. We understand that. But we’re finding we had a fair number of doses available in our appointment schedule as days went on,” Lamont said.

Lamont said 38% of adults in Connecticut have now received at least their first vaccine dose. He said the state expects over 200,000 first doses next week.

Connecticut residents 45 and over and teachers and child care providers are eligible for the vaccine.

Lamont also defended his pandemic-related emergency powers against criticism from Republican state lawmakers. Lamont’s emergency orders are set to end on April 20.

The orders have implemented public safety measures like mask requirements. State Republican leaders say the emergency declarations give Lamont and the executive branch too much authority.

Lamont said the state is still in an emergency.

“Our infections are no longer going down, they’ve plateaued. In fact, going up a bit. We’re not out of this yet. I don’t think it’s any time for us to take our eye off the ball. We’re doing everything we can to save lives,” Lamont said.

Lamont said his state of emergency declarations allow the state to qualify for more federal funding. He said that could be jeopardized if the state of emergency ends.

However, state lawmakers were unanimous to allow cities and towns to continue to close off streets and sidewalks, so restaurants could expand outdoor dining during the pandemic.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.