coronavirus in connecticut

Over 400 Receive Booster Shot at Pop-Up Vernon Clinic

Town officials say the clinic was organized to meet surging demand for shots.

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With the emergence of the omicron variant and the holidays quickly approaching, the demand for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots is increasing. The Town of Vernon addressed that need Wednesday, with a pop-up clinic exclusively dedicated to booster shots.

Scheduled from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., there was a steady stream of people getting their shots.  It was overseen by Priority Urgent Care and was open to all eligible people, regardless of town of residence, who are 18 or older.

Town officials say they recently saw a sharp increase in demand, and they felt the clinic was necessary to eliminate barriers and increase access. Since vaccines clinics first began, Vernon has had a progressive approach. It was among the state leaders in pop-up vaccine clinics when vaccines availability was at a premium. While doses are no longer scarce, officials there say appointments can be.

“Some of the time frames we’re hearing are upwards of three, four, five weeks out. (The wait could be) mid-January to get in,” said Vernon’s Town Administrator and Emergency Management Director Michael Purcaro.

Medical officials overseeing Wednesday’s clinic said they began seeing a sharp increase in demand for boosters about a month ago. Around the state, appointments can be found through many health care networks and large retail pharmacies. For some though, scheduling can be a cumbersome process.

“You have to go online, and it was this, that, and the other thing. So, this was just much easier,” said Roberta Groobert of South Windsor.

Scheduling at Vernon’s clinic was available online but could also be done with a simple phone call. Three hundred appointments were made with more than an additional 100 walk-ins.  Some of those getting their shot just recently decided to get boosted.

“The information about omicron triggered us to get booster shots,” said David Barber, who was there with his wife.

Vernon officials site the emergence of the new variant as a cause for increased demand. This, and the approaching holidays.

“We have children coming for Christmas Eve, so we want to be safe with them,” said Helen Barber.

Inside the Vernon clinic, doses of Pfizer and Moderna were distributed, and those getting their shots were happy for the ease of access.

“I need to get my booster,” said Kristiana Wintress. “It’s very important to do to take care of my mom and make sure it helps the community out.”

The Department of Public Health said if people are having trouble getting an appointment, they encourage them to go to Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Portal to find all the different clinics around the state. They can also call 2-1-1.

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