Wilbur Cross High School and Fair Haven Community Health Care launched the first school-based health clinic in the country 40 years ago, when The Body Shop opened at the high school.
On Wednesday, the pair will have another first when Fair Haven Community Health Care opens the group’s first mass vaccination site.
“We’re now getting to the point where particularly in Fair Haven we want to be able to play our part,” said Dr. Everett Lamm, vice president of clinical affairs at Fair Haven Community Health Care.
Lamm says now that the state is vaccinating people 55 and over, they’re seeing a much larger portion of their patients who want a vaccine. So, they’re moving to Wilbur Cross four days a week for the public and be one of several groups vaccinating New Haven Public School staff.
“With our partners in the community and the roughly 3,000 personnel in the New Haven School System, we would love to see them vaccinated, at least in the first go around, within the next two weeks,” said Lamm.
It’s possible because, as a federally qualified health center, they’re one of four providers in Connecticut getting extra doses directly from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The HRSA is the program within the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees the health centers.
“They started with a small pilot project and there’s going to be about 25% of all the health centers nationwide that have access to it,” said Lamm.
The state says they’ve supported federally qualified health centers with as much vaccine doses as they can handle. Josh Geballe says the more, the better.
“Really, operationally not a lot changes other than we’re just getting a lot more vaccine into the state overall, which is really great news,” said Geballe, Connecticut’s chief operating officer.
In North Haven, First Selectman Michael Freda says they’re also getting help with vaccinators at their clinics. Quinnipiac University students are lending helping hands.
“We have worked collaboratively with Quinnipiac University, so many of their nursing students are working to administer the vaccine here in North Haven,” said Freda, who added the fire department’s paramedics will also help vaccinate teachers.
Public appointments are full in North Haven, so he’s asking residents to keep in mind appointments will open as vaccines become available.
“We’re just asking people to be patient. we know it’s not easy. Everybody seems to want a vaccine right away, and I can certainly understand that,” said Freda. “But help’s on the way.”