Public/Global Health

Connecticut CVS found to have vaccinated more New Yorkers than in-state residents as of Feb. 4

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More New Yorkers than Connecticut residents were vaccinated at a Connecticut CVS before state officials went to investigate in early February, according to The Connecticut Mirror.

Health officials visited a CVS located in Waterford, Conn., on Feb. 4, after receiving warnings three days earlier that New York residents were infiltrating the Connecticut pharmacy to receive vaccines.

Upon arrival, they learned that 318 New Yorkers had been vaccinated at the site, compared to only 301 Connecticut residents, according to The Connecticut Mirror, which cited documents and emails obtained under freedom of information laws.

Residents from 10 other states had also visited the Waterford location for a vaccine, the newspaper found.

According to The Connecticut Mirror, most of the out-of-state residents who had been inoculated took advantage of a glitch in the CVS computer system, which reportedly allowed out-of-state residents to sign up for vaccines at locations in Connecticut.

In interviews with Connecticut state health department investigators, one New Yorker said she entered the zip code for Montauk, NY, located on Long Island, which is directly south of Waterford. She was then offered to schedule an appointment at the Waterford CVS.

Additionally, a number of the out-of-state residents who scheduled appointments at the Waterford location were reportedly not yet eligible for the vaccine at that time. According to The Connecticut Monitor, the majority of the New Yorkers who had been vaccinated at the Waterford site were between 65 and 74 years old, when only individuals aged 75 and above and first responders were eligible on that date.

Police were eventually called to the scene on Feb. 4 after some New Yorkers refused to leave the line. The Connecticut Monitor noted, however, that no arrests were made.

According to The Associated Press, state health officials ordered CVS not to keep second vaccine dose appointments for people who were wrongly vaccinated at the Waterford site. Instead, CVS was instructed to help those individuals schedule second doses in their states of residences.

In an email to The Hill, a CVS Health spokesperson wrote that “Earlier this year, we updated our site so that customers must affirm they meet the eligibility requirements in the state where the pharmacy they are booking their appointment is located.”

“We regularly optimize our digital scheduling capabilities to improve the customer experience and to make the process as seamless as possible. We worked directly with the impacted patients to ensure they were vaccinated per their state guidelines,” the spokesperson added.

The February situation in Connecticut is just one of several instances of people receiving a COVID-19 vaccine before becoming eligible.

An Axios-Ipsos poll last week found that 31 percent of people knew someone who falsely claimed to have an underlying health condition or other criteria to help them receive a vaccine.

Last week, all adults in the United States became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. Individuals ages 16 and older in every state, in addition to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, were eligible as of April 19, which coincided with the deadline set by President Joe Biden’s administration for states to make appointments available to all adults.

Tags coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 vaccine CVS Health CVS Pharmacy Joe Biden Waterford Connecticut

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