coronavirus vaccine

Vaccine Sign-Up Stress?: Policy Makers Exploring Easier Vaccine Distribution Access in CT

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While state leaders urge those eligible for the coronavirus vaccine to be patient while signing up for an appointment during this historic rollout, some people are very frustrated with the process.

And for those folks without internet or phone access or family to help them, that task is almost impossible.

“Well I think the pandemic generally has shown us that we don't do a really good job at addressing the inequities in our society and really understanding the depth of them. Not everybody has the privilege to work from home. Not everybody has internet access. Not everyone's watching a PSA on television to really understand the COVID-19 protocols,” said Tekisha Everett.

Everett is the executive director of “Health Equity Solutions,” an organization based out of Hartford whose website says they advocate to ensure “all people have access to optimal health despite their race, ethnicity, culture, or socioeconomic status.”

Everett is also member of Governor Ned Lamont’s COVID-19 Taskforce.

Thursday night, she and other taskforce teammates discussed accessibility for those struggling to sign up, those without transportation or who need sign language, among other issues.

Hartford mayor’s chief of staff, Vasishth Srivastava, acknowledged that the call in numbers and online appointments which are in place to sign up right now aren’t effective ways of reaching many people in their community.

“In the same way that we brought testing to neighborhoods with mobile testing, we want to do the same with vaccines,” Srivastava said, explaining that it’s complicated with supply constraints controlled by the federal government and storage requirements.

Max Reiss, a spokesperson for Governor Lamont, says plans are in the works to set up mobile vaccine sites to make this more accessible, along with the help of local health departments well versed with those in their neighborhood.

“There will be bumps in the road across the entire vaccine distribution process and we’re going to try our best to work with all of our partners and residents to maximize access to increase uptake of the vaccine," he said.

“Today I had a call from a Hartford resident who is 85 years old,” said Hartford Court of Common Council President Maly Rosado (D).

After a half hour of waiting, their call got disconnected as she tried to help him book an appointment.

“And he said council president this is what we have to deal with all the time can you please have them come to us. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

She’s working to the mayor’s office to better communication and ease stress for folks living in her area.

NBC Connecticut will continue to keep you updated on changes made to the vaccine distribution process.

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