NEW BRITAIN – Hartford HealthCare announced the launch of its Mobile Vaccination Clinic Friday morning with Open Hearth Shelter being the first in the pilot program.
Open Hearth Shelter, a facility that houses men experiencing homelessness, is located at 150 Charter Oak Ave. in Hartford. Hartford HealthCare delivered 136 vaccines Friday to the shelter.
“I’m grateful and I know the men at the Open Hearth are grateful for this opportunity,” said David Knighton, a former client and now supervisor at Open Hearth. “It was rough the last couple months here, but we managed to maintain and keep going and we’re looking for a little bit of normalcy now with this vaccine and just thank everyone.”
Hartford HealthCare said this is the first of many mobile vaccination clinics.
“Our intent is to communicate and collaborate with every single entity within the community that’s going to give us the biggest yield, that’s going to address the communities that we believe and we know are most impacted,” said Keith Grant, senior system director, infection prevention, Hartford HealthCare. “When we look at the health disparities that existed that definitely contributed to the disparities in the mortality rate we do have significant opportunity, but what this disease showed is that we were doing very good, but we could have done better.”
Grant encourages those in the community to reach out to him and his leadership team at Hartford HealthCare if they believe there is something they can do more or if there are communities they need to get to faster.
“It is a day of hope and a tremendous day. This is going to continue to keep happening in Connecticut; it’s going to keep happening in Hartford,” said Matt Ritter, speaker of the CT House of Representatives. “We’re going to continue to get better. People keep saying to me ‘well how do you know things are going to get better?’ And I say because of folks like Hartford HealthCare. To the doctors, the nurses and the professionals making this happen on behalf of our wonderful city we appreciate it and I know things are going to get better with your expertise and we’re going to do better as a state and as a country.”
Hartford HealthCare has administered over 30,000 vaccinations across Connecticut.
“Over the course of this pandemic Hartford HealthCare has gone into the community more than 1,500 times with mobile testing units. We’ve partnered with churches; we’ve been in prisons; we’ve worked with community centers, community leaders, political leadership across all the cities in the state of Connecticut and we learned a great deal of how to line our capabilities with community leaders, people who are trusted so we can deliver our services to support people during this pandemic,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and CEO, Hartford HealthCare. “Today is a moment where we take all those leanings throughout this pandemic and we’re going to apply it perhaps to the moment that matters most, which is how we can deliver the vaccine to our communities and we know with health disparities. We’re committing today to have no community left behind.”