WALLINGFORD — When the COVID-19 vaccines became available, the Spanish Community of Wallingford wanted to make sure they were available to whoever wanted them. To do that, the organization partnered with medical providers to help with the rollout in town and continued that effort for the next two years, recently surpassing their 100th vaccination clinic.
Even though the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration will end on May 11, SCOW plans to continue hosting vaccine clinics until the end of June. After the declaration expires, Americans will still be able to access vaccines at no cost until the federal government's supply has been depleted, at which time COVID-19 vaccines and treatments will begin to transition to the traditional health care market, according to a Tuesday update from the CDC.
SCOW’s mission is to make vaccines accessible for everyone in the community. With that in mind, SCOW partnered with the Wallingford Health Department, Griffin Health, and Hartford Healthcare. Overall, more than 2,400 vaccines have been administered at SCOW.
“We are proud to have partnered with SCOW and help make vaccines accessible to the community,” Wallingford Health Director Vanessa Bautista said.
The Wallingford Health Department was the first healthcare facility to partner with SCOW in administering vaccines. They partnered in April 2021.
According to Bautista, the department plans to continue working with SCOW.
“At the beginning stages, we had lines out the door,” said Adriana Rodriguez, executive director at SCOW. On Dec. 16, 2021, SCOW hosted a clinic in which over 200 people were vaccinated.
SCOW partnered with Hartford Healthcare's Neighborhood Health initiative, where clients had the opportunity to get COVID-19 vaccines, the flu shot, have a memory exam, and get their glucose checked.
According to Hartford HealthCare, their Neighborhood Health initiative is designed to bring more health prevention services and support directly to the people and communities they serve.
“With Hartford HealthCare, there would usually be a pharmacist present to answer any questions,” Rodriguez said.
In trying to make sure the vaccines were available to everyone, SCOW hosted clinics on different days of the week and at different times of day.
“During the beginning we would hold most of our vaccination clinics on the weekends, which was very accessible especially to the Latino population that work during the week,” Rodriguez said. “Now, we hold our clinics kind of more in the late afternoon to early evening, just to allow for families who are coming right out of work or when the children are out of school.”
One of the biggest obstacles that SCOW wanted the community to overcome was making sure those who were hesitant or nervous had the right information. SCOW provided bilingual services and translation to those who spoke Spanish. The agency would host online COVID-19 bilingual sessions and answer questions.
Throughout the vaccine rollouts, Rodriguez would see the families come back to get their children vaccinated.
A January 2023 report by the Wallingford Health Department indicated that 79.32% of Wallingford residents are fully vaccinated, 65.54% are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, 51.99% have received a booster dose, and 83.49% have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition to hosting vaccine clinics, the non-profit organization provides free Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Thousands of COVID-19 testing kits, hand sanitizers, and masks have been given out.
Even when hosting community events such as International Night, El Día Del Niño, and Wallingford’s 350+2 Jubilee, SCOW has had a table where PPE was being distributed.
“By partnering up with other organizations, we were able to maximize our efforts,” Rodriguez said.
For information on future vaccine clinics, visit https://www.facebook.com/SpanishCommunityWallingford.