Waterbury Schools Holds Vaccine Clinic For Students 16 and Up Starting Today

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The Waterbury school district is holding a coronavirus vaccine clinic for students 16 years and older starting today.

The clinic will take place during the week of April 19, which is the school district's spring recess.

Students must have an appointment and those who are 16 and 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, school officials said.

Those who attend the clinic will receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccination approved for people under 18.

For students 16 and 17, a drive-thru clinic will be held on the Post University campus on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Waterbury Public School District set aside 300 appointments on Monday for 16 and 17 year olds to get vaccinated. Michael Albino was one of them.

“It’s been very difficult to schedule one so I’m just really glad I’m finally able to get it done and over with and can claim victory,” said Albino, a junior at Kennedy High School.

Albino's mom Sherri was with him and she said she feels blessed and is glad the school district made this available for students.

“I thought it was great. They needed to reach out to some of the students and get them in because I think there was a lot of hesitancy in our city," Sherri Hemingway said.

Out of the 300 appointments available, the Chief Medical Officer at Waterbury Hospital said fewer than 50 were booked. He said there could be a number of reasons why including that a parent or guardian must accompany the student and the families weren't notified about the open appointments until Friday.

He also said there may be some vaccine hesitancy especially following the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause gives medical authorities time to investigate the rare cases of blood clots and determine the cause. Dr. Jennifer Haythe, co-director of Columbia Women's Heart Center, explains that this type of blood clot requires a different treatment than a typical clot, and symptoms to look out for.

The extra doses won't go to waste, though. Those doses can be added to the existing 50 appointments on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

I think for that age group, it’s not necessarily that you will get super sick from COVID. It’s that you can give it to other people who can get very sick from COVID and that’s what we’re trying to prevent here and protect each other, and your family and the elderly specifically that are at high risk of getting sick," Chief Medical Officer of Waterbury Health Justin Lundbye said.

For students 18 and up, a clinic will be held at Waterbury Arts Magnet School on Elm Street Tuesday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hundreds of high school and college students received the COVID-19 vaccine this weekend at clinics in Middletown and New Britain.

The clinic is held in partnership with the State of Connecticut, the City of Waterbury, St. Mary's Hospital, Waterbury Hospital and Post University.

Anyone who would like to schedule an appointment can call 877-918-2224 starting Monday at 8 a.m. The appointment line will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

School officials said there will be additional opportunities to get the vaccine in the coming weeks through school-based sites and pop-up clinics, in collaboration with the city. However, they are encouraging as many students as possible to schedule an appointment during this week's clinic.

On Thursday during a House Select Subcommittee hearing on safely ending the pandemic, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan pushed Dr. Anthony Fauci to be more specific about when Americans will “get their freedom back.” Fauci responded that Jordan was making this a personal thing. “I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital.”

How to Get an Appointment for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut

By phone: Call Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for scheduling at select sites.

Online: Schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment in VAMS, the Vaccine Administration Management System.

  1. Fill out the form to let the Department of Public health know you are interested in creating an account in VAMS. If you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine then you should receive an email from VAMS to complete your registration within 12 hours. Click here to create an account.
  2. Check for an email from no-reply@mail.vams.cdc.gov. Click on the link in the email and create your account. You will be prompted to retrieve a code that will be emailed to you. You will need to create a password and store it in a safe place.
    1. If you forgot your password, the "forgot password" link on the login page can only be used if you have created a password as part of your VAMS registration.
  3. Complete your VAMS registration.
    1. The first question that will be asked in VAMS is “Have you already registered as a vaccine recipient with VAMS?” The answer to this question is “No.”
    2. Questions with a red asterisk are mandatory. 
    3. Insurance information does not need to be entered.
    4. You will be prompted to share some additional information about yourself.
    5. In order for VAMS to recognize your option chosen for race, click on your choice in the box on the left and click the right-pointing arrow to move your choice to the box on the right.
  4. Use your zip code to search for clinics near you in VAMS.
    1. The system will automatically search for clinics within a 10-mile radius of your zip code, but you may choose up to 100 miles from the dropdown menu, which might provide more clinic locations in your search results.
    2. You might need to check multiple clinic locations to find an available appointment. Find a slot that works for you, and book your appointment.

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