January 15, 2021
To All City Employees:
Thank you for your continued hard work and efforts throughout this pandemic. This has not been easy and I appreciate the professionalism and dedication you have shown during these challenging times. We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel in the form of mass vaccinations. The COVID-19 vaccine offers hope that we can someday hopefully soon begin a return to normal.
I know there are a lot of questions from employees about the COVID-19 vaccine. We will be holding an internal staff Zoom meeting next week where our Health Department will provide a detailed update, and also allow time for Questions and Answers. In the interim, here is what we know today:
- The State of Connecticut controls the timeline and distribution of the vaccine. We are slowly transitioning into Phase 1B of vaccine eligibility. Those 75 years of age or older can now register for a vaccine.
- Also included in Phase 1B are frontline essential workers, such as those working in the food service, grocery, education and child care sectors, as well as frontline public and social service employees. City employees fall into the public service category. Appointments are not available for this group at this time. The State defines frontline essential workers as those who face work-related exposure to COVID-19 because work-related duties must be performed on-site, in proximity (<6 feet) to the public or to coworkers. Human Resources is working on a list of employees who meet this criteria. City employees do not need to live in Connecticut to receive a vaccine.
- At the advice of the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, eligibility in Phase 1B will be expanded in the coming weeks to also include those over the age of 65 and those over the age of 16 with comorbidities.
- The State informed us there are 1.3 million people who fall under Phase 1B eligibility. At this point, they are anticipating 46,000 doses per week. Given this current estimate, it would take 7 months to vaccinate all 1.3 million people in Phase 1B. I am hopeful the Federal Government will be able to rapidly increase production and allocation soon. We are making every effort to prioritize our critical workforce as we receive vaccine supply.
Once the Governor allows scheduling for Phase 1B frontline essential workers, the City will upload your information into the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). You will then receive an email to your City email address to complete your registration and make an appointment. City employees will be able to use VAMS to find open appointments across the state. Employees who do not live in Norwalk should consider getting the vaccine in their town of residence. We also plan to hold special closed clinics to immunize City employees on-site.
Please remain patient. There is a larger demand for the vaccine then there is supply. When it is your turn, I encourage you to consider getting vaccinated. Just know, that may not be next week or next month. Our Health Department Staff is playing a critical role to keep our community safe. Please do not email or call the Health Department directly asking when you or your staff will get vaccinated. They are following the directives from the State of Connecticut and eligible employees will be notified.
We have a COVID-19 Resources Hub available at norwalkct.org/vaccine that has detailed information, included a guide on how to register for an appointment if you are eligible. The State of Connecticut also has a wealth of information located at ct.gov/covidvaccine.
Please stay tuned for a Zoom invite next week. I encourage all employees to attend. The meeting will be recorded for those who are unable to join live. Stay safe, and I hope you all enjoy the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend.
Mayor Harry Rilling