Hartford HealthCare is opening what they are calling a COVID-19 vaccination mega center in New Britain in a few weeks with the hope that it will make it easier for residents to get vaccinated, and be the first of several such centers.
The center, located at 1 Liberty Square in New Britain, is expected to open sometime between Monday, February 22 and Monday, March 1.
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said the frustrating part of the COVID-19 vaccine is that the city is only getting 100 vaccines each week so this center is designed to help increase the residents' accessibility to the vaccine.
“You can't increase the amount of people that are getting vaccinated if we’re not increasing the accessibility to the vaccination," Stewart said. "And this is what’s going to happen here. We’re looking to increase that number of residents that are having accessibility to the vaccine ten fold when this location gets up and running."
According to Mayor Stewart, there are three barriers that this site will help allieviate:
- Residents will be able to get to the site easily because it is located in downtown. The city's Dial-a-Ride services and bus routes will be able to get residents there quickly.
- Technology Issues
- Mayor Stewart said the city is working through technology issues with volunteers and staff at senior centers to help residents get registered to get the vaccine.
- Trust Barriers
- There will be a public education campaign about the COVID-19 vaccine that will tell people in different cultural sub-sects of the that the vaccine is safe and effective so they will want to get it, Mayor Stewart said.
- Dr. Henry Anyimadu, an Infectious Diseases Specialist for the Hospital of Central Connecticut said studies have found that COVID-19 infections disproportionately affect communities of color. He said the studies show that the people who are the most impacted are the most reluctant to get the vaccine.
Anyimadu encourages everyone to get the vaccine and said when he sees the vaccine he sees hope-- hope that families can get together again, businesses can open up again and life getting back to some sort of normalcy, but he added the only exit out of the pandemic is vaccination.
Hartford HealthCare officials said they have secured rights to build additional vaccine mega centers at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford and at Central High School in Bridgeport.