New Haven city leaders announced Wednesday that the health department has vaccinated 12,500 people since late December.
"That’s a pretty good number and I’m glad people are coming out and not being afraid and getting vaccinated. It’s a good thing they’re doing this,” said Tishshanna Carr.
They met the mark through their standing clinic at the health department at 54 Meadow St. and at pop-up vaccination clinics like the one hosted Wednesday at First Calvary Baptist Church.
“And so, we’re excited. And we’re going to continue to inform people in this community that it is important to take this vaccine,” said Rev. Boise Kimber.
Between the four vaccine providers in New Haven (Yale New Haven Health, Fair Haven Community Health Care, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center and New Haven Department of Health), 22,000 residents have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data. That's second in Connecticut in total vaccinations, and is equal to 17% of the city's population.
“It gives us a chance to get it done so I feel very happy,” said Edddie Freeman, of New Haven.
He walked into the site after a family member told him about it.
“I should have been the first one here, I live right down the street,” he said with a laugh.
Stamford leads Connecticut with 27,000 people vaccinated, 21% of the population, and Bridgeport is third with 20,000 (14%).
Hartford, the state’s fourth largest city, is 10th with 16,000 residents receiving the first dose, which is 13% of residents. It falls behind West Hartford (32%), Milford (29%), Hamden (28%), Norwalk (21%) and Waterbury (15%).
New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond said the New Haven health department is doing more to make sure residents get priority.
“We are transitioning to New Haven residents-only, so we are taking a few appointments that were already committed,” said Bond.
When vaccines first rolled out in Connecticut in December, she said, it was about providers simply making the doses available to those who were eligible, with few residency restrictions. New Haven has since become a vaccine hub for residents of surrounding cities and towns.
Now city leaders said the city is continuing its push for access and making sure those who want a vaccine and live in New Haven can get one. The residency restrictions are only for the city-sponsored vaccine clinics.
“We want to make sure we’re accessible in every community,” Bond said.
Wednesday’s first-dose pop-up clinic at First Calvary Baptist Church was the city’s twenty-fifth. They also held a second-dose clinic at Varick church, where 40 people were fully vaccinated by noon. A third was held at Career High School for the education community.
Bond said they’re working with the Board of Education and the city’s youth services department on plans to vaccinate the 16 and over group.
She also said as more vaccines become available to the state there will be more pop-up clinics in New Haven neighborhoods.