Just like it has each Saturday since February 6, Dunkin Donuts Park will serve as a vaccination clinic on Saturday. It is just one part of Hartford’s strategy, which to increase the rate of vaccinations in the city.
According to the most recent state data approximations, just over 11% of Hartford’s population has been vaccinated. In comparison to other Connecticut towns with populations over 100,000, Hartford is slightly lower.
It’s a statistic Mayor Luke Bronin attributes largely to the state’s age-based vaccination eligibility rules. Bronin explains only a small fraction of the city’s population are eligible in the current 55 plus age category.
“About 26,000 of our residents are over 55 and we’ve vaccinated about 13,500 people,” he said.
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To ease the process, Hartford asks people to go to its website hartfordct.gov and fill out a vaccine interest form. Someone will then respond to help register appointments. The city will even provide transportation if necessary. Still some residents have looked at other options.
“Personally, I found it difficult to get a vaccine and I had to drive down to Mohegan Sun to do it,” said Patrick Crook of Hartford.
The city also has a call line of 3-1-1 where people can have questions answered and set up appointments. But there is still uncertainty about the vaccine for some residents.
“(People) just are not completely sure about it,” said Maria Fabras of Hartford.
To counter this, the city has launched a campaign knocking on doors each weekend trying to educate the community about the vaccine.
“People still have a lot of questions about the vaccine. And that’s natural. So, we are trying to do everything we can to make sure we’re reaching out to people and answering those questions,” said Bronin.
In addition to the weekly Saturday clinics at Dunkin Donuts Park, the there are several other Hartford vaccinations locations available. These include the Xfinity Theatre, Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and several CVS & Walgreens pharmacies.
The city remains diligent, trying to provide information and eliminate barriers. Once again Saturday a group of Red Cross volunteers and health department workers will be again knocking on doors.
"Even if you are reluctant to get that vaccine for you, do it for the ones you love," said Bronin. "Do it for the community."