Editorial: Thumbs down to CT police resisting getting COVID vaccine

Fairfield police Officer Jenna Racz receives a shot of COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Denise Gilbane at the vaccination clinic set up in the gymnasium of the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities, in Fairfield Jan. 27.

Fairfield police Officer Jenna Racz receives a shot of COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Denise Gilbane at the vaccination clinic set up in the gymnasium of the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities, in Fairfield Jan. 27.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

Thumbs down to the rare but not unprecedented cases of patients dying of COVID-19 even after having been vaccinated. Connecticut has reported three deaths of people who were vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. Known as “breakthrough deaths,” all three were confirmed to have underlying medical conditions and were over 55. None of that makes their deaths any less tragic, but it is important to remember how rare they are. Nationally, a total of 132 vaccine breakthrough deaths have been reported. All evidence shows the vaccines are highly effective and safe, and are essential to returning to our pre-COVID lifestyle.

Thumbs up to an effort to take on Connecticut’s electricity costs, some of the highest in the nation. As part of the Take Back the Grid Act, the state’s regulatory authority, PURA, will investigate how to move Connecticut to a framework that links incentives and penalties to how well companies perform. It may or may not reduce rates, but could at least provide some needed stability. Connecticut’s electricity is routinely the most expensive in the continental United States, due to a confluence of factors. And last year’s tropical storm showed how vulnerable we are to extreme weather. This is just a first step, but a welcome one for rate-payers.

Thumbs down to police officers who are resisting getting the coronavirus vaccination, despite being among the first to be eligible for doses. Some 350 officers at seven departments in southwestern Connecticut were not vaccinated as of last week, following a national trend. Public safety officials on the front lines should be encouraging members of the community to get shots. Instead, they are lagging behind the general population. In Darien, for example, only 43 percent of police employee have been vaccinated, while 60 percent of eligible residents in the town have rolled up their sleeves. Fairfield is tops in the group at 75 percent. We’ll be impressed when the police turnout in these towns is closer to 100 percent.

Thumbs down to shortsightedness that is leading to a sloppy count of how vaccines are being distributed to Connecticut’s transgender population. Of the 2 million COVID-19 vaccinations distributed in the state, data suggests only five have been given to transgender people. It’s a poor ratio given that nearly 4 percent of the state’s population identifies as LGBTQ. Gaps like this were expected given the rush to initiate vaccine distribution, but there can be consequences to not thinking through the details. The Vaccine Administration Management System’s limited options of “Male, Female, Decline to specify, or Other,” seems particularly tone-deaf during a national movement to be more inclusive.

Thumbs up to Terrence Cheng’s appointment as president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. Cheng has served as director of University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus for five years. Though UConn is not part of Cheng’s future responsibilities, there should be benefits to understanding its network as he assumes oversight of the system that was formed from a dozen of the state’s community colleges. The system has been controversial, but Cheng has displayed poise that will be welcome as the state’s students transition back to their campuses.