Half of the adult population in Connecticut is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Nick Powell of Branford is now one of them.
“Most of the people I’ve talked to are kind of in the same boat where you know, get the vaccine get it over with and try to get back to normal,” Powell said.
He’s also concerned about getting more people vaccinated, which is the state’s next big task.
Connecticut’s five largest cities are leaders in total doses administered, but still among the middle of the pack for total percentages of fully vaccinated residents. Hartford remains last in the state at 19%.
“You see those numbers and you try not to worry about it. There’s not too much you can do but I think there needs to be a continued push,” Powell said.
Health leaders say there will be. One way is to get rid of vaccine appointments. It’s happened at many clinics statewide. At Fair Haven Community Health Care’s vaccination site at Wilbur Cross High School, the organization switched to walk-ins two weeks ago.
“My mom came last week, and they just told her that you can just walk in, and I was like wow, so I just came today,” said Delany Vazquez of New Haven.
Betty Peele was waiting for weeks for a single dose of Johnson and Johnson but decided to go with the Pfizer vaccine offered at FHCHC.
“I know I heard on tv so many people had trouble getting appointments,” Peele said. She added the best part was that she lived nearby and didn’t have to make an appointment or wait in line.
The total number of vaccines statewide were up seven percent the third week of April following a sharp decline the previous week.
Pop-up clinics like the one Tuesday at Taft Apartments by the state Department of Health and Griffin Health are part of the outreach to more people.
George Arline was on the New Haven Green when someone told him about the vaccines. He said he would spread the word about the vaccine and the clinic.
“We got to take a chance man. We’ve got to get this country back together,” Arline said. “That’s why I got this sticker on my coat. I’m gonna walk around proudly and let them know I got the vaccine.”
City Health Director Maritza Bond says they’ve held 60 pop-up clinics on their own or through partnerships with other healthcare groups. She says the plan now is to adjust to better meet people where they are. Going without appointments is a first step, now they’re coordinating clinics in the afternoon and evening.
“Because people are busy, and people have different work schedules and have different reasons for waiting,” Bond said.
Another way organizations are trying to meet people where they are is by going to their homes. Fair Haven Community Health Care encouraged 300 people to get vaccinated through their “Vaccinate Fair Haven” campaign.
“Vaccinate fair haven has been really instrumental to the community and bringing people into the vaccine clinic,” said Jennifer Vazquez, FHCHC’s director of special programs and advocacy.
Mayor Justin Elicker says one-on-one conversations can help with misinformation and answer questions regarding vaccines.
“Sometimes it takes that personal connection and that conversation with someone that you trust to bring you over the barrier there,” said Elicker. “And you get your shot and you keep yourself safe, you keep your community safe.”
City volunteers will also host a door knocking effort Saturday in the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods. Three pop-pup clinics will be ready and waiting for those who want a shot.