Area residents looking to get a coronavirus vaccine now have an option closer to home.
Hartford HealthCare oversees vaccine distribution in Southington and had been directing people to the Hospital of Central Connecticut in recent weeks. Now hospital leaders say vaccines will be available at the medical building at 462 Queen St.
“As we get more vaccines, we’ll continue to expand sites and capacity,” said James Cardon, Hartford Healthcare chief clinical integration officer. “We’ve got months of work ahead of us for sure.”
With vaccines provided to most healthcare workers, Cardon said the priority has been residents age 75 and older. Seniors are in the current group eligible for vaccination.
Hartford HealthCare receives its allotment of vaccines each week from the state. That determines how many vaccination appointments the hospital group can schedule.
The Queen Street location is now scheduling appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The scheduling is limited based on the anticipated number of vaccines available for the area.
“The biggest limitation right now is the number of vaccines we have,” Cardon said. “Right now, that’s all the capacity we have. If we opened up more sites, we wouldn’t have the vaccines to fill them.”
Vaccines include those made by both Pfizer and Moderna.
“What we get from the state varies from week to week,” Cardon said.
The two vaccines differ in the amount of time a second dose of the vaccine should be administered. Cardon said that’s tracked on a patient’s record.Bradley Hospital as a vaccine location?
Bonnie Sica, a founder of the Community Committee to Save Bradley, has asked Hartford HealthCare to hold vaccination clinics at the Meriden Avenue hospital.
Bradley is part of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, owned by Hartford HealthCare. Sica and others want the hospital group to keep Bradley open and maintain services there.
“There’s no reason they’re not utilizing Bradley,” Sica said last week.
For some patients with the possibility of allergic reactions to a vaccine, Sica said doctors advise getting the vaccine at a hospital. That would make Bradley a convenient location for Southington residents in that situation.
Cardon said the vaccination locations aren’t fully determined and could change or increase with need.
He said all sites are equipped to deal with the uncommon occurrence of allergic reaction following a vaccination. Those who have gotten the vaccination are kept at the site for 15 minutes to monitor for such a reaction. Very few residents would need to a get a vaccine in a hospital.
“Sometimes hospitals are not the most convenient place to get to,” Cardon said. “We’ve actually had much more volume going through our ambulatory (sites).”
The first group to receive vaccines were health care workers, making hospitals the most convenient place to administer them. Cardon said the main population now receiving vaccines are those 75 and older.Clinics vary by town
To schedule a vaccination in Southington, residents can call 211 or visit the Hartford HealthCare website. The Plainville-Southington Regional Health Department doesn’t schedule or administer vaccines.
Towns can choose their method of vaccinating residents, according to Maura Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health.
“Some are conducting clinics on their own. Some are partnering with neighboring local health departments or districts to conduct their clinics, and the others are contracting with third-party vaccine providers,” Fitzgerald said.