On the eve of all residents 16 and older being eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Connecticut, there was one clinic that opened its doors with hundreds of available appointments.
Using social media as an advertising platform, Hartford HealthCare posted Tuesday night that its Wethersfield clinic on the Silas Dean Highway had approximately 400 first dose Pfizer vaccine appointments available. By mid-afternoon, more than half were filled and those administering the shots could sense people’s relief.
“They are happy. They’re excited. So, we are happy and we’re excited,” said Kathleen Gravelle, quality nurse manager at the clinic.
Among those getting her vaccine was Faith Roth of Cheshire. The 62-year-old woman has an impaired immunity and has been nervous that she could get sick before being vaccinated.
“For me that could be very, very serious,” said Roth.
Faith was joined by her husband, a grocery store worker who has had to be very careful balancing work and home life.
“I would have to come home and completely de-sanitize, get my clothes in the wash and take a shower,” said Bob Roth.
Administering vaccine shots since December, officials at this Wethersfield Hartford HealthCare clinic say they have given over 24,000 shots. Roxanne Rotondaro oversees the operation and explains it is typical they open scheduling 24-48 hours in advance.
“It allows those people, who are having a hard time, maybe get a vaccine appointment sooner than later,” she said.
Word of the available appointments Wednesday spread quickly. Another person able to take advantage was Lisa Stanchfield of Manchester. She says after weeks of trying to schedule an appointment, her doctor’s office scheduled her appointment Wednesday morning. She says this will allow her to see her 89-year-old mother, without worry.
“I want myself and my children to be vaccinated so that we can be around her without risking her life,” said Stanchfield.
Ann Marie Sevene of Wethersfield also got her shot, something that is especially important to her as a breast cancer patient. Sevene said because of her condition, she had hesitation but decided the benefits outweighed the risk.
“Just looking to stay healthy and hoping that everyone gets on board with this,” she said.
Throughout the day, the appointments did fill up. The clinic was hoping to administer 900 total shots on Wednesday before closing time at 8 p.m. As of 5:20 p.m., 72 appointments remained. If there are extra doses they will be rolled over to the next clinic day.