New COVID-19 vaccine resources launching in West Hartford

Vaccination supplies in Ridgefield, Conn, Thursday, February 4, 2021. West Hartford launched an information line related to COVID-19 vaccinations Monday, with mobile vaccinations expected to debut later this week.

WEST HARTFORD — The town launched an information line related to COVID-19 vaccinations Monday, with mobile vaccinations expected to debut later this week.

The line provides a mechanism for residents to get in touch with West Hartford Public Library workers, who interim library director Carol Waxman said would answer their COVID-19 vaccine-related questions themselves or connect them with the appropriate people.

“So, we are sort of the triage people,” said Waxman, who is also a West Hartford resident.

When people call in, staff keep track of what people want to know about in a Google Doc that other entities — “such as social services, senior services and the health district,” Waxman said — can access. People who call in can anticipate a response to what they asked “within 24 hours of calling us,” she said. The line isn’t for vaccination registrations.

So far, most people who have called in have wanted to know when their age group would be able to schedule appointments, where they can get a vaccine and how they would get there, Waxman said. She wouldn’t say how many had used the line so far, but said it was busy.

The At-Risk Community Health program is also starting this week. It allows officials to take vaccines to people “who have specific mobility issues that prevent them from obtaining the vaccine through other methods,” according to a news release.

To take part in the program, interested residents who qualify under Phase 1b must fill out a form from the town that the health district would look over.

People who are 75 and older are covered under 1b and can schedule appointments and, as of later this week, people who are 65 and up will join their ranks. Those in the latter category are expected to be able to do so beginning on Thursday, per the state’s website.

Vaccinations are well underway in the community. According to preliminary data as of Feb. 3 on the state’s vaccination distribution map, 13.8 percent of the town’s total population has received an initial dose while about 46.7 percent of people who are 75 or older there have.

“I think that that’s great news,” said Aimee Krauss, the health director for the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District said of the distribution figures. “We’re moving in the right direction, and I’m encouraging people to get vaccinated when they are eligible and when it’s their turn.”

For the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District specifically, their “total vaccination status” is at about 1,700 vaccinations, Krauss said, and not all of those people live in West Hartford or Bloomfield. They’ve had people from places such as Windsor or Newington get a shot, according to Krauss.

Krauss said they got 200 vaccines for second doses and 300 vaccines for first doses this week, and are expecting to request about 1,000 in preparation for next week.

When it comes to the new initiatives, people are already indicating their interest. Mayor Shari Cantor said Monday that some people have called her and an emergency management official inquiring about ARCH since the town announced the program.

As far as the information line goes, Cantor said she anticipated “there might even be a little more activity” as the eligible vaccination population grows.

“We’re here to assist in whatever way we can,” she said. “So that is, hopefully gives people peace of mind that they’re not left alone to figure out their way through the process, there are people here to help and we want to help.”

Connecticut Media Group