coronavirus vaccine

Vaccine Sites Launch in New Haven Targeting Seniors

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Starting Monday, seniors over 75 and others who qualify for a COVID vaccine can get one at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High School in New Haven.

“We are anticipating that we are going to be able to vaccinate about a thousand to two thousand people a day,” said New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond.

It’s a joint effort with Yale New Haven Health, which is opening 12 vaccination sites across the state with one in West Haven and two in New Haven. At the Floyd Little Athletic Center site, registered nurse Yaw Appiah is glad to see the hospital’s move to reach New Haven residents.

“I’m a nurse by profession so just to see that we are now going out to the community and getting people on the safe track, getting them vaccines, it’s wonderful to see,” said Appiah, who is a site leader at the Athletic Center site.

Bond says the location was chosen because it’s part of their public health preparedness plan.

“We are excited this is an ideal location it’s central to the city, it’s off the bus line,” said Bond.  

In New Haven, a second location is now open at the Lanman Center on Ashman Street. From the early days of COVID testing to new vaccination sites, health equity and access has been a goal.

“Every day as we’ve been setting up we have people coming in with people asking is this the site for the vaccine? People are very enthusiastic for the vaccine,” said Appaiah.

For the seniors who can’t make it to a location in New Haven, the city is planning mobile clinics at housing authority sites.

“We are now gathering to see how many people would need the vaccine per site and we will be executing strike teams,” said Bond.  

It’s a massive team effort. She says local health care providers have reached out to their senior patients to get them in for a vaccine.

As more sites open up around the state, locations are making sure they have the staff. When Yale New Haven Health began vaccinating more than 20,000 employees, Appiah came over from management to help. He, like many health care providers across the state, took a refresher course to become a vaccinator.

There are 22 vaccination stations at the Floyd Little Athletic Center and they’re staffed up. But he says he’s ready.

“What I’m doing is more operational lead, but let’s say if the need were to arise, I am fully qualified as a registered nurse to sit down and administer vaccines if need be,” said Appiah.

Deb Fisher of the Quinnipiac University school of nursing says her students have also helped around the state this month.

“This presented itself as a unique learning opportunity because of the need with the pandemic taking place,” said Fisher, the assistant dean of student services.

The students are qualified to administer vaccines, and more than 100 will work in three hospital clinics this spring for a public health clinical course.

“The faculty member is there for guidance to help the students, also answer any questions and be there as a support for them,” said Fisher.

Bond says they have vaccinated 350 people per day with seven to 10 nurses and they’re planning ahead.

“We are also looking at our own infrastructure at the health department and activating our medical reserve corps,” said Bond.

The Medical Reserve Corps is a statewide group of health care volunteers who have helped throughout the pandemic.

“They’ve helped us with testing they’ve helped us with distributing masks, they’ve helped us now with vaccinations across different regions of Connecticut,” said Bond.

Back in New Haven, there’s a clinic planned Saturday at the health department. The Lanman Center is now open, and the Floyd Little Athletic Center opens Monday seven days a week.

“I’m excited we have a clear partnership with Yale New Haven Hospital, they immediately contacted us to partner, and it’s all hands on deck,” said Bond.

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