‘You have to go where the people are,’ Wallingford health director says of vaccine

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WALLINGFORD — Alexis Davidson is immune compromised and suffers from asthma. She is also concerned about her mother, who is also immune compromised. 

The 20-something, who lives in a Wallingford Housing authority apartment complex, came to the Community Center at Southside Terrace with fellow tenant Kayla Soto Tuesday to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

“They reached out to us,” Davidson said.

Employees from the town’s Health Department were at Southside Terrace to vaccinate about 50 WHA tenants. It’s part of the department’s efforts to reach underserved populations who may have difficulty getting to mass vaccination sites or booking appointments. The health department is also targeting the homebound and clients of local social service agencies.

“You have to go where the people are,” said town Health Director Stephen Civitelli. 

Housing Authority staff distributed fliers to tenants of its moderate and low income apartment complexes, including the elderly and disabled, and scheduled appointments for those wishing to be vaccinated.

Davidson and Soto were grateful they didn’t have to navigate the vaccine scheduling system. 

“We’re relieved,’ Soto said. 

Civitelli had two public health nurses, a health educator and office manager at the WHA clinic. More than 100 people have registered for a similar clinic at the Spanish Community of Wallingford next week. The department is also visiting Silver Pond, a congregate living center in town and several other places.  

The health department began its vaccine program with seniors at the town’s senior center. But as the vaccine opened to middle-aged and younger populations, the department shifted its focus to underserved groups. 

The state continues to rank among the top three states in the country for the number of doses administered per capita. So far, those who have received at least one dose include 82 percent of all people over the age of 65, 75 percent of all people over the age of 55 and  67 percent of all people over the age of 45, according to the state Department of Public Health.

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz

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