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Making It Easier: Hartford Rolls Out Hospital Partnership To Vaccinate Residents

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Trinity Health RN Kayla Bennett gives Hartford resident James Watts his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a neighborhood vaccine clinic at the Parker Memorial Community Center on Feb. 22.

The city of Hartford and St. Francis Hospital have teamed up to get people vaccinated at multiple neighborhood spots.

James Watts, a Black man who lives in Hartford’s North End, came to one of the two new clinics on Monday -- the Parker Memorial Community Center on Main Street.

Watts, 74, was able to receive the vaccine as part of the 65-74 age group that’s eligible for the shot. 

“I’m thinking I’m going to live a little longer,” he said. While Watts chose to get the vaccine, he said he has some friends and family who aren’t sold on it. “Some of them figure that the vaccine came so soon, so it hasn’t been tested.”

Watts recommends that the state spotlight people who take COVID-19 vaccinations to help promote awareness for the vaccine among people of color.

The state has lagged behind in getting the vaccine to people who live in Connecticut cities. And people of color are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

In Hartford, city officials say they can’t close off vaccination sites to people from the suburbs, but they can make it easier for city residents to get shots.

Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
Patients leave the Parker Memorial Community Center after receiving COVID-19 vaccines at a neighborhood clinic.

“I want our community to know that we’re working hand-in-hand with every partner we can, including our tremendous partner St. Francis to bring this vaccine into our community, to make it easy for you to get it, and I hope that you take full advantage of it,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.

Opening clinics in Hartford neighborhoods -- and encouraging residents to dial 2-1-1 for an appointment -- is part of that effort.

Another Hartford-St. Francis vaccine clinic will open up soon in the South End of the city.

Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
A Trinity Health worker prepares vaccines to be administered at a neighborhood vaccine clinic at the Parker Memorial Community Center.

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