While communities and heath networks continue to ramp up vaccination efforts, Trinity Health of New England is taking it to the extreme. They are aiming to distribute 4,000 doses during a 24-hour continuous COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
The Vax-A-Thon event, which began at 5 p.m. Friday, was held at the Artists Collective building on Hartford's Albany Avenue.
Before the doors even opened, people were lined up. As day turned to night, those lines remained, stretching around the building outside.
“It actually has a pretty cool ring to it. Like, it sounds like a party, a vaccine party,” said Alisha Saxon of Waterbury.
It’s a party with plenty of shots: 4,000 COVID-19 vaccinations. Johnson & Johnson and some Pfizer vaccinations are being administered nonstop through 5 p.m. Saturday.
“If it gets more people vaccinated, the better. That’s what I think. I just want people to get vaccinated so we can get life back to normal,” said Dustin Dowd of Naugatuck.
While walk-ins are being accepted on a limited basis, organizers said this is mainly based on appointments, all of which have been filled.
“We should’ve done this a long time ago,” said Trinity Health of New England President and CEO Dr. Reggy Eadie.
The Vax-A-Thon is the first 24-hour clinic here in Connecticut. Hundreds of volunteers have helped make it happen, including Cherelle Rozie, who said this helps send a message to the community.
“I feel like [people] seeing other people getting the vaccine in the community will increase vaccine confidence,” said Rozie.
According to Eadie, the aim of the Vax-A-Thon event is to increase access, a goal he said has been achieved.
“If you address [people’s] concerns and answer their questions, this is the result,” he said. "It’s not hesitancy. It’s give me the ability to get vaccinated in a community that I may live in and we’re doing that today.”
Organizers expect to cycle through 200 people per hour until closing Saturday.