In an effort to vaccinate as many people as possible, Hartford HealthCare announced Feb. 10 it will open a network of “mega” COVID-19 vaccination sites across Connecticut.
One location at 1 Liberty Square in New Britain was unveiled during a news briefing by infectious disease specialist Dr. Henry Anyimadu of The Hospital of Central Connecticut and other HHC and city officials. The site will open between Feb. 22 and March 1.
“The only exit out of this pandemic is the vaccine,” Dr. Anyimadu said.
Here are the other new mega sites:
- Xfinity Theatre (Hartford).
- Foxwoods Casino (Mashantucket).
- Oakdale Theatre (Wallingford).
- Central High School (Bridgeport).
Also: Expanded capacity at the current Stott Avenue site in Norwich.
“This is Connecticut at its best . . . our community rising to the challenge to protect citizens,” said HHC President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks at the news briefing at 1 Liberty Square in New Britain. “It’s part of our commitment to have no community left behind.”
The space for the new vaccination site in New Britain was donated for use by the Tomasso family, longtime supporters of The Hospital of Central Connecticut.
“We have teams of colleagues to staff the clinic. We’re ready to go and we’re excited to do it,” said Gary Havican, HHC senior vice president and president of its Central Region.
HHC currently has the capacity to deliver 35,000 vaccines a week, but Flaks said plans are to “pivot” when supply increases to deliver more than 75,000 a week statewide.
Dr. Anyimadu – whose presentation was followed by similar comments in Spanish by his infectious disease colleague Dr. Sarah Banks – said he is hopeful the location will boost the number of minorities getting vaccinated.
“The virus has, unfortunately, disproportionately affected people of color,” he said.
Yet minorities are also less likely to be vaccinated, he said, referring to a study by the Centers for Disease Control showing that, from Dec. 14 to Jan. 14, only 5 percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics were vaccinated. A second study by the Pew Research Institute revealed that while about 70 percent of African Americans know someone affected by COVID, only 42 percent were willing to get the vaccine.
“I can see hope,” Dr. Anyimadu said of mass vaccination. “I see that our families can get together again, businesses can open, life can get back to some form of normalcy.”
To date, Flaks said HHC has distributed more than 82,000 vaccines.
“The only limit is the number we get from the state,” he said.
Citizens are asked to be patient because the amount of vaccine the state is receiving from the federal government is not currently enough to meet demand.