Important COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students, 

I’m writing today to draw your attention to an important news release from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. This afternoon, he announced that the Biden administration informed State officials that they can anticipate receiving a significant increase in supplies of all three COVID-19 vaccines over the next few weeks. By early April, the State anticipates receiving more than 200,000 first doses per week. This increase will enable the State to move up the dates for the age groups that are not yet eligible for the vaccine. The news release notes that scheduling will open to all individuals ages 45-54 on Friday, March 19, and scheduling for those 16 and older will open tentatively on April 5. This is important news because it potentially enables our faculty and staff to be vaccinated earlier than anticipated and may allow us to vaccinate our students who are on campus this semester before they leave New London. 

To this end, I’d like to update you on the work we are undertaking with Hartford HealthCare (HHC) to increase access to the vaccine for the Conn community. This past weekend, HHC offered our faculty and staff ages 55 and older the opportunity to participate in what HHC calls a “closed clinic.”  They provided us with a special code that all eligible employees could use to set their own appointment. The closed clinic proved to be very effective, and many of our employees received their vaccinations at HHC’s local Foxwoods vaccination megasite. 

Partnering with Conn is a particularly important priority for HHC, given their work with the State on the Health Equity Initiative, which provides vaccine access to residents in particular cities and towns in the state. New London and other towns in our region are among these priority areas, and given that we are one of the largest employers in the City and many of our employees live here, they are committed to creating dedicated vaccination clinics to help residents get vaccinated.

When we launched this process on Friday, we also provided vaccine scheduling support at our Testing Center for eligible employees. If an employee did not have access to technology or wanted assistance to set up the appointment at the HHC clinic, they were able to talk to a designated staff person who helped them arrange their appointment. We will continue to offer this support as we launch future clinics in partnership with HHC.  

We anticipate setting up the next series of clinics for Conn as the vaccine supply improves in the State. We will communicate directly with all employees who are eligible for the vaccine when these clinic opportunities are available. Please keep an eye on your email for more details.

Students: We are also speaking with HHC about how to make the vaccination process easier for you, too, while you are still on campus. We will share more information as we get closer to the time when you are eligible. It is important to note that when the 16-44 age group is eligible there are 1.3 million people in this group in Connecticut, therefore access will not be immediate and it will take several weeks to vaccinate this group.  

If you have not received the vaccine, we encourage you to schedule an appointment when you are eligible. Getting your vaccine is the best way to keep you, your family, our campus community and our neighbors safe. It will also enable us to open up our campus to the fullest experience possible for students, staff and faculty as quickly as possible. 

As a community, we have come together in extraordinary ways to have a successful fall semester and to remain in Alert Level 1-Green for the fourth straight week this semester! The next big challenge is to ensure that the vast majority of our community gets vaccinated. In the coming weeks, we will be adding a new section to the COVID-19 dashboard that shows the percent of faculty, staff, and students who are vaccinated, allowing us to track our progress as a community.

Today’s announcement from the Governor is a great piece of news to share with you, as we continue to be vigilant, stay safe, and prepare for the weeks ahead.

Thank you for all that you are doing today—and will do in the coming weeks and months—for each other and for our broader New London community!

Sincerely, 

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students

Cheryl Miller
Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Development