MERIDEN — The city’s Department of Health and Human Services and Hartford HealthCare are now accepting requests for COVID-19 vaccines for individuals in Phase 1a and a limited number of inoculations for individuals covered in Phase 1b as the state’s vaccination rollout continues.
Those included in Phase 1a, and those over age 75, must make appointments by calling the city’s Department of Public Health and Human Services at 203-630-4221, or through an existing MyChartPlus account with Hartford HealthCare.
The appointments are necessary to prevent overcrowding and the potential spread of the virus, according to officials.
Those without a MyChartPlus account can set one up at Hartford HealthCare’s MyChartPlus.org website or call a support hotline at 860-972-4993.
Phase 1a individuals include all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. This includes long-term care facility residents, and first responders at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their responses to medical emergencies, such as EMTs, police and firefighters.
Phase 1b individuals include those who are 75 years or older, essential front line workers and those living in congregate settings. The state is expected to add more groups next week.
There is a public health department vaccination clinic from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the Meriden Senior Center, 22 W. Main St. In the 1b group, only those over age 75 are accepted now and proof of age is required. Appointments are necessary to receive the first and second dose of the Moderna vaccine, and the public is asked to be patient as phones are expected to be busy. The number is 203-630-4221.
Lea Crown, the city’s Health and Human Services director, answered questions from the Record-Journal about the rollout.
Q: How many vaccine doses does the department expect to receive and how often are the clinics?
A: Meriden will not have immediate vaccine for everyone in Phase 1b. Our department gets a weekly allocation from the state for Moderna vaccine, and we will be scheduling clinics weekly based on the amount of vaccine received.
Q: If I’m an essential worker included in Phase 1b, when can I expect to get a vaccine?
A: It will take some time and a lot of effort for our local health department to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1b. Businesses involved in the defined frontline essential workers may need to tier who they offer vaccination to first; this is up to businesses to decide who those individuals may be.
Q: How does the Meriden Department of Health and Human Services expect to reach members of the city’s large Spanish speaking population?
A: We have staff that speak Spanish and materials in Spanish.
Q: Is the department equipped to conduct outreach for people with limited access to technology?
A: We will work with the state Department of Public Health on guidance for registering persons in the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), which is used for tracking COVID-19 vaccination. Our department will be able to provide paper registration forms on site at our vaccination clinics for those without access to a computer.
Q: Can essential workers call the department directly for vaccine appointments?
A: We encourage those who are anticipating vaccination under the frontline essential worker and congregate setting categories to discuss this with their employer, who will be able to register persons in VAMS. It is always best to have a point person at each business/setting to coordinate vaccine clinics with.
Q: What steps are being taken to prepare for the broader rollout of Phase 1b?
A: Next steps are to block dates and times for 1st and 2nd dose clinics based off of our staffing levels and availability, fine tune standard operating procedures for mass vaccination clinics serving a broader population, and draft communications for the public for when we are ready to start vaccinating.
Eligible persons wishing to use Hartford HealthCare’s registration system may book appointments at vaccine clinics in Wethersfield, Norwich, Shelton and Hartford. More sites will be added.
Scheduling through MyChart ensures that vaccinations are entered into patients’ electronic medical records, a hospital spokeswoman said.