Hundreds of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals fighting on the front lines of the pandemic braved the bitterly cold temperatures Friday.
They stood outside for hours to get shots into the arms of residents who’ve waited for weeks for an appointment.
“Finally, I’ve been so anxious to get it done,” said Russell Mercer of Hartford.
As gusts whipped up wind chills below zero, frontline workers tried their best to arm themselves against the elements as they armed Connecticut residents against the coronavirus.
“It’s pretty darn cold, mostly on the hands because we wear the surgical gloves,” said Dr. Dan Wilensky.
The number of doses doled out rose at the same time temperatures fell.
“A pandemic is never convenient,” pointed out CHC’s Senior Vice President and Clinical Director Margaret Flinter.
Despite wearing layers of clothing, a hat, and handwarmers nurse Ramon Clark could feel winter's bite.
"It's unbearable,” said Clark.
Still, he had a job to do, a very important one.
“I want to make sure we're getting as many people tested as we possibly can,” said Clark.
Cars rolled through the New Britain testing site where Clark was assigned on Friday. Patients kept warm in their cars, while testers braved the elements to help give them answers.
"I think they're fabulous and I really appreciate them,” said Justine Beach of New Britain.
Flinter said canceling was not considered an option.
"It just means pushing those appointments to another day. We didn't want to do that,” she explained.
When the wind took out the walls to the tents another CHC testing site in Waterbury, where workers relied on propane heaters.
"Our parking attendants, we're asking them to stay in their vehicles until a car comes through. So that they can stay warm,” said Gary Wallace, CHC’s Director of Community Engagement.
In East Hartford, trailers were set up for workers to pop into when they needed to warm up.
“I think each staff person can probably do about an hour before they need to cycle in and try to warm up again,” said Flinter, who along with the rest of the leadership team, helped vaccinate patients.
Their service didn't go unnoticed.
“Thank them for standing out and doing this in this weather,” said Mercer.
“Hats off to them. They’re working under very tough conditions,” added James McHutchinson. “It's not bad for us. I pity the people who are outside."
“Honestly, I feel like a part of history. This is exactly where we need to be right now. “We’re not going to get out of this pandemic without these vaccines and any vaccine that’s not in somebody’s shoulder is a wasted vaccine,” said Dr. Wilensky.
Ninety-one-year-old Arlester Green of Hartford sung their praises.
“My heart goes out to all of them, the nurses and doctors that’s out here,” he said. “I really think that it’s a marvelous thing. They’re saving people’s lives and it don’t get no better than that.”