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Needleman: COVID-19 Booster Shot Update, Rental and Utility Payment Assistance Available

By Norm Needleman, State Senator.

Last week, I joined First Selectman Lauren Gister of Chester and First Selectman Angus McDonald of Deep River; Director of UniteCT Dawn Parker, and Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno in promoting the program that is available to renters and landlords. Also, I had the chance to visit to the UniteCT mobile van when it stopped in Deep River. The mobile van is traveling across the state to provide technical support for people interested in submitting an application for UniteCT.

To keep up to date on the mobile van’s next stops, including in Middletown on October 26, click here.

Residents may be eligible for up to $15,000 of rental support and up to $1,500 of electricity payment assistance. Please visit this link for more information on the important program.

Updated Information on COVID-19 Booster Shots

The latest update on booster vaccination shots from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added people aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions as a population group that should receive a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completing their primary series. At this time, the CDC also recommends people aged 65+, those in long-term care settings, any individual with underlying medical conditions, individuals who work public-facing jobs or jobs that put them at increased risk of infection, and people who live in high-risk settings receive a booster shot if they received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. Other groups may receive a booster shot based on their individual risk and benefit.

Information on booster shots for individuals who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines is likely to become available in coming weeks as federal officials review scientific data.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to protect strongly against hospitalization and death, but recent studies indicate the shots’ abilities at preventing infection wane over time. However, this is not indicative that the shots don’t work; diminishing antibodies are not indicative of overall protection, and the virus primes an individual’s immune system to fight off the virus before it causes serious disease. Similar vaccines requiring boosters include flu shots, which are given annually due to changes in influenza’s viral build and differing strains causing infection, and the common TDAP vaccine against pertussis, tetanus and diptheria, which adults should receive boosters of once every ten years.

Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
To Collaborate to Prevent Gun Violence

The governors of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania today announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding to share gun crime data, working together to prevent gun violence and enhance public safety. Law enforcement agencies in those four states will be allowed to share crime gun data across state line for investigations, as well as to identify and apprehend straw purchasers, suspect dealers, firearms traffickers and other criminals.

World Mental Health Day

This Sunday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, meant to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to increase efforts to better support mental health. Those working on mental health issues, and those who study and seek better ways of treating them, can better understand what more needs to be done to make mental health care a more widespread and available resource.

According to the National Institute of Mental Illness, nearly one in five adults in the United States live with mental illnesses, with conditions that vary in severity from mild to severe, while one in six children aged 2-8 have a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder and as many as 10% to 20% of teens have mental health conditions. This day is meant to break the stigmas associated with mental illness and show that these conditions should not hold anyone back from living a happy, productive life.

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