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COVID-19 Update, Rental and Utility Payment Assistance

By Norm Needleman, State Senator.

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. According to the state, 71 percent of adults over the age of 18, 80 percent of adults over the age of 45, and 92 percent of adults over the age of 65 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In total, 3,414,728 total vaccine doses have been administered, with 1,971,070 first doses and 1,563,845 second doses. All three of those figures include 120,187 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Additionally, Middlesex County has the highest rate of fully vaccinated residents among the state’s eight counties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. As of May 9, 51.8 percent of residents have been fully vaccinated.

This is incredible news that speaks to the success our state has had in administering the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and continual efforts to make the vaccine accessible. Please take a couple of minutes to read a few more developments regarding the vaccine.

COVID-19 Update

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Children Ages 12-1

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use among children from ages 12-15 on emergency use basis, with children and young teens now able to receive the vaccine. The FDA said use of the shot in younger age groups will accelerate efforts to increase immunity against COVID-19 and drive down infection rates, additionally allowing middle school students to get vaccinated between now and the beginning of the next school year. In earlier conducted studies of the vaccine, it was found to be 100% effective among this age group. Clinical trials are currently underway for children from the ages of six months to 11 years old.

Chatham Health District Helping Schedule COVID-19 Vaccination

If you are in Colchester, East Hampton, East Haddam or Portland and are having challenges accessing the COVID-19 vaccine, the Chatham Health District has put together an online survey collecting information and connecting residents to their vaccination clinics. By clicking here and submitting your information, you can ensure access to the vaccine!

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Homebound Residents

Homebound residents lacking transportation to a COVID-19 vaccination site can now fill out a form on the Department of Public Health’s website, or have a loved one fill out the form, to have a volunteer provide transportation to a vaccination site or administer the vaccine in an in-person visit. By filling out this form, individuals will be contacted the following Monday with information on receiving the vaccine. Those in need can also call 1-877-918-2224 to schedule an appointment or receive help with transportation.

UniteCT Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The UniteCT program, through the Department of Housing, will provide $235 million in rental and utility payment assistance to qualified Connecticut households financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to stabilize the state’s rental housing market. The program will financially support households up to 80% of the HUD Area Median Income. To access an application portal and to learn more information about the program, please click here. UniteCT also operates a mobile bus that visits different communities each day to make sure everyone has access to technology to submit applications. More information about that program can also be found at the above link. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments will be prioritized.

The mobile bus will be at St Mark’s Church – Westbrook Food Pantry (222 McVeagh Road, Westbrook) on Tuesday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here to register for an appointment.

Child Care Program Stabilization Fund

Federal funds provided to the state Office of Early Childhood will support early childhood providers, helping these vital businesses recover faster and more effectively from the COVID-19 pandemic. Licensed childcare programs or license-exempt child care DCEX programs that are currently open or planning to open within 30 days of applying with children enrolled are eligible for the funding. Said funds can contribute to pay rent/mortgage, insurance and utilities; provide mental health support for staff and children; pay payroll, benefits and staff bonuses; pay for staff training and professional development; and maintain or improve facilities, among other uses. To apply, call 1-800-505-1000 or email


Sharon Challenger
I am a professional Scenic Artist and have also worked as a Systems Analyst and Senior Programmer Analyst for the Travelers and Yale University. Education: Post University, Wesleyan University and Yale University School of Drama.

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