State data show high COVID vaccine counts among Ridgefield's eligible teens

More than half of the town's 12 to 17 years olds have rolled up their sleeves for the COVID vaccine, according to recent data from the state Department of Health.

More than half of the town’s 12 to 17 years olds have rolled up their sleeves for the COVID vaccine, according to recent data from the state Department of Health.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

RIDGEFIELD — More than half of the town’s 12- to 17-year-olds have rolled up their sleeves for the COVID vaccine, according to recent data from the state Department of Health.

As of Aug. 12, 71.2 percent of the town’s 12-17 population — which totals 2,719 people — are fully vaccinated, and almost 79 percent of children in that demographic have received at least one dose.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi said the numbers reflect a trend of high vaccination rates across all of Ridgefield’s age groups. He noted that almost 100 percent of the town’s 64 and over population is fully vaccinated.

“Our numbers for eligible (people) are around 85 percent, which is good when you look at the state and the rest of the country,” he said. “The issue (is) we need to get everyone vaccinated.”

Ridgefield reinstated a townwide indoor mask mandate beginning Monday to protect children 12 and under who are not yet eligible for inoculations. Ridgefield Public Schools are also requiring all students and staff to mask indoors and on buses once classes commence at the end of the month.

The district is following COVID recommendations from the state Department of Public Health, the school district’s media manager Alison Pratt said. The recommendations cite vaccinations as “the number one mitigation strategy” to protect oneself from the virus.

The statistic is no surprise to Theresa Santoro, president and CEO of RVNAhealth. The agency partnered with RPS in early June to offer special vaccination clinics for 12 to 17 year old students, which inoculated a “majority” of adolescents, she recalled.

This summer the agency partnered with Danbury’s health department and other local organizations to bring vaccine education and access to surrounding populations where rates are lagging. Educating people on a one-to-one basis, Santoro explained, allows concerns to be heard and addressed directly.

Still want a shot? Here’s where you can go in Ridgefield

RVNAhealth: 27 Governor St.; 203-438-5555; rvnahealth.org.

CVS: 467 Main St; 203-431-8888. 720 Branchville Road; 203 544-7094.

Stop & Shop: 125 Danbury Road; 203-438-7317.

Walgreens: 46A Danbury Road; 203-894-8744.

Rite Aid: 125 Danbury Road; 203-438-7378.

“This age group, developmentally, feels invincible,” Santoro said of 12 to 17 year olds. “They are more at risk for any long-term effects of the virus since they have a longer lifespan ahead of them. … What we are seeing is that there are true potentials for COVID to create a lifetime of symptoms that can greatly impact one's life.”

Santoro advised parents of 12 to 17 year olds to “strongly consider” getting the shot. “If you are not ready to do it, be sure that your child is vigilant about masking in indoor settings,” she added.

Marconi said that vaccines are still available in town at RVNAhealth, CVS, Stop & Shop, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com