There is a statewide effort to ensure Connecticut residents are returning for their second COVID-19 shot. It comes as parts of the country are starting to see a dip in people returning for their last dose.
Accessibility and convivence are two reasons why Ariza Diaz showed up on Wednesday for the FEMA mobile vaccine clinic in East Hartford.
"I didn't have to drive far so it's awesome, it's a big help," said Diaz. "At first, I was nervous but I think we all have to do it to be safe so it's awesome that they were able to bring it here to us close by,"
Medical and town leaders tell NBC Connecticut they wanted to make the process easy and simple and to ensure people know they can return for their second shot at the same location where they picked up their first.
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"We need to make sure that we're reaching populations in these specific areas to get back in here," said Anne Horbatuck, Vice President for Ambulatory Services for UConn Health.
Horbatuck mentions that preparation for patients' second shot begins as soon as they show up for their first dose and then continues once they leave.
"When they come through the registration tent, their second appointment is actually made at that time which encourages them to be part of the process to ensure they pick a date," said Horbatuck. "Social media is very, very big in multiple different languages as well.
East Hartford and the health department are using similar strategies.
"We generally start with a phone follow up so we can explain who we are and ensure them that we're contacting them to remind them of their second dose appointment," said Laurence Burnsed, the health director for the town of East Hartford.
According to state data, 96.7% of individuals who received their first dose have either received their second dose or are still within the allowable window.
"The state's department of health along with other health care systems are urging patients receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to get their second dose of the vaccine in order to ensure that they have the maximum level of protection against COVID19," said Maura Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for the Dept. of Public Health.