When Northwest Catholic High School nurse Beth Bornstein got her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, she “teared up a little bit.”
“Gosh, I am so honored and thankful and I’m relieved, and I see that, you know, there may be light at the end of the tunnel,” she said in an interview. “I’m blessed.”
Bornstein got her first injection on Dec. 24 from the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, which received a shipment of 500 vaccine doses the day prior. As of Thursday morning, about 100 people have had an initial shot, said Aimee Krauss, health director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District.
The district had given doses to nurses who would be assisting with inoculating others, Krauss said. It was a “pretty seamless” process, Bornstein said — she got a link to sign up, printed a barcode and headed to the district’s office where she didn’t have to wait around.
For Bornstein, she said it felt like what a flu shot — some soreness in her arm at first, but no other issues.
“I’ve had no symptoms — no soreness, no fatigue, nothing,” she said. “It’s been fine.”
And the rollout of the vaccines continued in the area this week. At a clinic in West Hartford on Wednesday, for example, 20 people got their first doses — 10 paramedics and 10 police officials — and at another clinic in Bloomfield, 10 more first responders got doses, Krauss said.
Following months of contact tracing since the early days of the pandemic, Krauss said the district is “very excited” about the vaccinations being underway.
“So this is a breath of fresh air with this vaccine coming in and the fact that we’re able now to help our community further with the mitigation and getting people vaccinated and offering this to our first responders,” she said. “It’s a sigh of relief, we are so happy to be able to do that.”
Krauss said they’ve been doling out their vaccine doses — which are the ones created by Moderna — in increments of 10 because that’s how many doses there are in the vials.
The district has more clinics planned this month, including one in the West Hartford auditorium Jan. 12 for people who are a part of phase 1A, Krauss said.
Krauss hopes paramedics who have received doses can assist at clinics for vaccinations in the future, but she said they still need approval from the state.
As the district continues to provide people with initial doses, it won’t be long until people who have already gotten their initial doses of the Moderna vaccine will be due for another. Those who have been vaccinated can opt to use a tool called V-safe and get alerted for their follow-up dose, Krauss said, and they can notify the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how they’ve been feeling through it as well.
Lori Flaherty, the nursing supervisor for the town’s non-public schools, got her first dose this week and hasn’t experienced any side effects to report to the system. It has flagged her follow-up date and prompted her to pencil it in on her calendar, she said.
Moving forward, Flaherty said she would eventually “love to see schools go back to their normal routine.” And, as someone who has lost family during the pandemic, she said she doesn’t want others to share that experience.
“I want us to get back to normal, I’m ready, I think everybody else is too,” she said in response to a question about getting an initial dose. “I believe in the science behind the vaccine production and I think this is what’s going to help turn our country to reach a recovery and get back more to normal, so I am willing to do that.”