John Elliot of New Haven is 86. He’s had three wives and currently a fiancée. He’s battled prostate cancer and gotten a new hip. And he said the COVID-19 vaccine he received Monday will help keep him going.
“Glad to have it done. Made it this far,” said Elliot with a laugh.
From Wallingford to New Haven, 250 seniors aged 75 and older were in line for a COVID-19 shot Monday at the opening of the Yale New Haven Health vaccination clinic at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.
People are welcomed in by volunteers, checked in and wait for one of four doctors or nurses to open at a station. It was a quick and almost painless experience.
“I feel fine, it was easy peasy getting here,” said Nancy Johnson of Wallingford.
The difficult part for some we spoke to was getting signed up.
“I did it via phone to make the appointment,” said Johnson. “Online was horrendous trying to get one.”
She said she had problems with certain parts of the online form and got stuck. She asked a friend for the number to call and schedule an appointment. She admitted she’s not great with computers, so the experience online was frustrating.
Elliot said he avoided the computer altogether. He got a same-day appointment by phone.
“I called up the nurse this morning. She says, ‘go here,’” said Elliot.
The Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School is one of 12 vaccination sites Yale New Haven Health has opened to get the public vaccinated. Officials said they’re watching their vaccine supply very carefully and they have not yet had to cancel any appointments.
“Because of the vaccine availability they’re having to adjust the availability of scheduling options,” said Mark Sevilla, vice president of behavioral health emergency services.
“The thing we don’t want to be doing is having people schedule and then having to cancel and reschedule,” said Sevilla.
There are people here to help with scheduling, like for John and Nancy. And once you’re here on site, there are translation services and volunteers to quickly and carefully move you through the process.
“I’m just very grateful this is out there for people to help us,” said Johnson, who said all of her family and friends are healthy. She added the social isolation for the last year has been difficult. Her son brought her in for her appointment, and she said seeing faces was Monday was nice.
Clinic leaders said they hope to have enough vaccines for nearly 1,400 people a day at the Floyd Little Athletic Center site. A mile away at the Lanman Center, they can do twice that number if the vaccines are available.
For now, they’re working with what’s available on a day to day basis.
“It feels good, it’s the ray of hope people have been looking for honestly,” said Sevilla.