NEW BRITAIN – Police officers, firefighters and EMS first responders from across the state were vaccinated at Hartford HealthCare’s vaccine clinic located at the CT Convention Center Wednesday.
“We want to thank our brothers and sisters working in police, fire and our ambulance paramedic personnel, this is a great honor to do this and we’re very excited to deliver these vaccines,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and CEO Hartford HealthCare.
Flaks said about 3,000 first responders have been vaccinated already.
“During this pandemic we provided personal protective equipment when it was very scarce, we provided covid testing and now we’re at this next phase of future relationship building by providing this vaccination,” said Charles Johndro, system EMS medical director, Hartford HealthCare. “I feel like this is not just a vaccination, but a protection and big help.”
Managing the vaccination process with two different Pfizer and Moderna vaccines logistically requires a tremendous amount of attention, precision, focus and logistical support.
“This is a massive undertaking in order to convert our state to move from where we were principally focused on testing to continue our efforts of our testing and build our capabilities around distribution of this vaccine,” Flaks said. “We’re working very closely with the state, the Department of Public Health and the governor’s team. Eric Arlia, our director of systems pharmacy here at Hartford HealthCare, is a pivotal leader in terms of building our capabilities to more than double distribution just over the next several days.”
Arlia said the hospital received over 9,000 doses of the vaccine Wednesday.
Dr. Keith Grant, senior system director, infection control at Hartford HealthCare, shared a story that has lead to a mantra at the hospital group.
“A few months ago I had a really good experience with the police,” Grant said. “There was a young lady that was trying to hurt herself and when the police responded I was on scene and she kept saying, ‘why don’t you just let me die?’ and the police officer said something that just resonated with me. The police officer kept saying, ‘family don’t let family die,’ so we’ve adopted Connecticut as a family at HHC.”
Jason Diaz, Lt. with the Hartford Fire Department, was here getting vaccinated to send a message to the community.
“We’re here getting vaccinated to show the community that we’re fighting this vaccine along with other occupational hazards, not just fire, but most importantly to fight covid-19. So we’re encouraging the community to fight this ongoing battle so we want to do it together,” he said.