First responders and healthcare professionals are among some of the first people to receive their COVID-19 vaccines in New Haven as the city begins its multi-phase rollout.
On Monday, the city launched the first phase of a four-part immunization campaign that city officials said is aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in New Haven.
City of New Haven Director of Public Health Maritza Bond, New Haven Fire Department Chief John Alston and Director of Public Health Nursing Dr. Jennifer Vazquez received their vaccinations on Monday, city officials said.
Several other prominent healthcare professionals including Dr. Darnell Young, a dentist and Dr. Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, a pediatrician, also received their vaccines on Monday, the city added.
"While the vaccines are not a cure-all, and we are far from out of the woods, they help us get the upper hand in the fight against this deadly virus. They are also providing an added layer of protection to the first responders and other frontline workers we are relying on to get through this," New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement in part.
"The threat of contracting COVID-19 on the job and spreading it to our families and neighbors has been a constant concern among first responders," Alston said.
"The availability of this vaccine means we can breathe a little easier. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in this fight, one that gives us a fighting chance and the hope that we can beat it," Alston added.
Alston urged residents of New Haven to do their part by getting vaccinated.
"The Black and Latinx communities are a particular concern, due to access and trust issues. We implore them to trust the vaccine and continue to follow safety precautions.," he added.
The city is currently administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, officials said.
"We want to be sure that residents have the facts about what the vaccine can and cannot do. It cannot give you COVID-19, for example, or cause you to test positive for COVID-19," said Bond.
"What it can do is help prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19, lessen your symptoms if you do get it, and may protect people around you, particularly those at increased risk. The vaccine is a critical piece of controlling the pandemic, but it is not the only one," she added.
Residents can make an appointment to get vaccinated in the phase they are eligible through the CDC's Vaccine Administration System. The city says for the initial phases, employers will upload rosters of employees who are eligible in the current phase and the employees will be notified by email to choose the date, time and location of their appointment.