HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — More than 100 additional pharmacies throughout Connecticut will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines over the next several days, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday.

The expansion comes as the final group of adults in the state will become eligible to make their vaccination appointments on Thursday.

The list of additional pharmacies includes chains, such as Rite Aid and Hancock Pharmacy, grocery stores, such as Big Y and Price Chopper, as well as many local pharmacies.

Meanwhile, beginning Thursday morning, all individuals between ages 16 and 44 will be allowed to begin registering for vaccination appointments.

Residents should visit ct.gov/covidvaccine and enter their ZIP code to receive a list of the closest available clinics and instructions for how to make an appointment. Those without internet access can call the state's vaccine appointment help line at 877-918-2224.

Individuals who are 16 and 17 should sign up only for a clinic offering the Pfizer vaccine — the only one at this point to receive federal approval for those ages.

"With the recent increase in cases in Connecticut, it is crucial that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one as quickly as possible,” said Connecticut Acting Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford.

As of Wednesday, there were 832 additional confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 525.9, an increase of 63.4%, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins. The number of deaths increased by one to 7,886.

As in other stages of Connecticut's vaccine rollout, Lamont said he expected an initial rush of people trying to get appointments and urged people to remain patient, noting more appointments will be added daily.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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