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Here Comes Mobile Vaccination: First Stop at Open Hearth

January 22, 2021

Hartford HealthCare officials, applying lessons learned during mobile COVID-19 testing efforts dating to spring 2020, launched a mobile vaccination pilot Jan. 22 at the capital city’s Open Hearth Shelter. Committing to “no community left behind,” HHC President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks said the system will do whatever it takes to bring testing and vaccinations to people. Mobile stops, pop-up centers and drive-through sites will augment services at fixed facilities where he said hours will be extended. Experts say that to reach herd immunity, with more than 70 percent of the population vaccinated, clinics must expand beyond traditional locations and include mass vaccinations while also bringing vaccines into underserved communities. [embed]https://youtu.be/qd-2CMtjdeA[/embed] Mobile testing units, Flaks said, have made more than 1,500 stops across the state, bringing care to people who might not otherwise receive it. “We’ve learned a great deal about how to align our capabilities with community leaders so we can deliver services to support people during this pandemic,” Flaks said at a press conference before clinicians administered 136 vaccines to Open Hearth staff and homeless men staying there. “We have seen the rates of people testing positive and we know those in inner cities and congregate settings are testing positive at a higher rate.” “The only limiting factor will be the number of vaccines available to us,” he said. [embed]https://youtu.be/i0d6klkg5oc[/embed] The vaccine stop at Open Hearth is a “miracle” to Executive Director Marilyn Rosetti and the “golden ticket” to Supervisor David Knighton, who was once a shelter client. “I’m able to go home today and feel safe with my family. It’s been a rough couple of months here, but we’re looking for a little bit of normalcy,” Knighton said. Rosetti said shelter clients are often overlooked but feels “this vaccine will take us to the next level.” That’s the goal, said HHC Senior System Director of Infection Prevention Keith Grant, who called the pilot is a “significant opportunity” to reach populations with potentially life-saving protection against the virus. The pandemic, he explained, highlighted healthcare disparities and efforts to address them mustn’t stop once the threat passes. “This needs to last long after COVID,” he said, encouraging people to reach out to him with suggestions of other communities and organizations needing attention. The pilot’s current priority, according to HHC Chief Clinical Integration Officer Dr. James Cardon, is congregate care facilities like shelters. This is in addition to groups approved by the state for vaccine, including residents over 75. HHC has vaccinated about 6,000 seniors in less than a week, Dr. Cardon said. [embed]https://youtu.be/EKz4XI7Y1Co[/embed]

Other Ways to Get a Vaccine

Anyone in 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.

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