Earlier this week Governor Lamont highlighted Old Saybrook as having one of the highest percentages of residents who’ve received at least their first vaccine: 71%. On Thursday the town set up a clinic to vaccinate even more people and didn’t limit it to just residents.
“I heard they were giving vaccines and food,” said Andrew Norris of Higganum.
For hundreds of people, that made the trip and the wait worth it. Old Saybrook’s no-appointment drive-thru clinic had all three vaccines on hand and allowed people to pick Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, or Moderna.
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“People have a preference, and I think that’s why tonight is so successful,” said Scott Martinson, director of health for the CT River Area Health District.
“I think it’s a great idea. It’s helpful because it gives everyone the opportunity to choose what they want,” said Scott Harper of West Haven who waited more than an hour.
In addition to picking a vaccine, Harper had another choice to make at the end of the line. Organizers offered everyone in the vehicles hot dogs or hamburgers.
Martinson says the convenience of the drive-thru vaccination has been a huge hit for the town, and this was a chance to continue that outreach while giving people options.
“Tonight we’re getting a lot of people 16 to 18, but we’re also getting a lot of people their first dose that have kind of been out there waiting to see what happens. So it’s super. We’re hitting all the groups tonight,” said Martinson.
“This is open to anybody. So anyone who has not gotten their vaccine yet. We’re going for immunity in the community, and the community is our entire state,” said Old Saybrook Police Chief Michael Spera.
Spera says the turnout was beyond their expectations, and it’s one they’re grateful to see.
“We lived through a pretty tough year together. Now let’s get vaccinated together. Let’s get back to normal,” said Spera.
The clinic was supposed to end at 8 p.m. but the long lines meant that it lasted until around 9 p.m.. Martinson says they administered close to 400 shots.
Old Saybrook is already making plans for clinics that will vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds when the FDA and CDC allow it.