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Can Vaccines Stop New Virus Variants? Four More Vaccination Sites Coming to State

January 19, 2021

As the first group of Hartford HealthCare colleagues received a second dose Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 19, an infectious disease specialist referred to research showing currently available vaccines also protect against newly discovered virus variants.

Keith Grant, APRN, Hartford HealthCare’s Senior System Director of Infection Prevention, said concern over two “significantly more contagious” variants of COVID-19, which first surfaced last month in the United Kingdom and has spread to the United States and likely Connecticut, prompted the research.

“We now know the vaccine seems to be effective against them as well, which is huge for us,” Grant said.

The research also underscored the valuable protection offered by “mitigation strategies” such as mask-wearing, handwashing, personal protective equipment (PPE) in clinical settings and physical distancing.

Eric Arlia, senior director of pharmacy for Hartford HealthCare, offered still more good news.

“We expect to pass 30,000 people vaccinated today,” he said, noting that the system is averaging 2,000 to 2,500 vaccinations a day. Hartford HealthCare is urging people eligible to be patient online or on the phone when scheduling a vaccine – public demand is high.

Those statistics will increase quickly as the system opens four new vaccination facilities – Meriden, Southington, Mystic and Torrington — in the next week and expands capacity at the Hartford Convention Center, Norwich and Wethersfield locations.

“We also have plans to expand more as more vaccine becomes available,” Arlia said.

How to Get a Vaccine

Anyone in the eligible groups can get vaccinated at a Hartford HealthCare vaccine clinic. An appointment is required to ensure safety. No walk-ins are allowed.

People eligible for a vaccine who already have a MyChartPlus account can log in and make an appointment at a Hartford HealthCare vaccine clinic. If you don’t have a MyChartPlus account, set one up on Hartford HealthCare’s MyChartPlus.org website.

If you’d prefer to schedule your appointment by phone, call the Hartford HealthCare Access Center at 860.827.7690 or toll-free at 833.943.5721.