Reaching Communities to Increase Accessibility
May 19, 2021 marks the date in Connecticut when a majority of the business restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted. This milestone is a result of the state government’s continued partnership with local and tribal officials and the federal government to combat and defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
May 19, 2021 marks the date in Connecticut when a majority of the business restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted. This milestone is a result of the state government’s continued partnership with local and tribal officials and the federal government to combat and defeat the coronavirus pandemic. Where Connecticut stands today, with one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, can also be attributed to government joining with business, the health care sector and everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus to combat vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccine access.
As more and more Americans are vaccinated, a return to a more normal life is increasingly likely. Our goal now is to make sure everyone who wants a vaccine against COVID can get one. In Connecticut, over 2.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, meaning more than 51 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one shot of the vaccine.
But if we are to continue on our road to recovery, we have to reach every corner of New England and the nation with the vaccines. Here in Connecticut, we are getting the COVID vaccine to communities across the state with a Mobile Vaccination Unit, the first in the region and an innovative solution to providing vaccines to underserved communities. In alignment with President Biden’s plan to respond to COVID-19, FEMA Region 1 is working closely with state and local municipalities on plans to utilize the MVU to get the vaccine to communities and people in socially vulnerable areas.
The unit will travel throughout the state on a 144-day schedule. The MVU will be used to complement the ongoing efforts of local public health departments, health care providers, pharmacies, community and faith-based organizations, employers, private sector vaccinators and other federal resources.
Municipal and community partners are coordinating outreach to high-risk and vulnerable residents and assisting with appointment scheduling. New methodologies like virtual technology can make easy access to vaccination appointments possible. For some people, limited access to medical providers or vaccine clinics, lack of mass transportation, mobility issues, work and family care schedules, and other factors can make it difficult to access established vaccination centers. The MVU makes access easy.
Staffing is provided by Connecticut National Guard and partner healthcare providers. On-site EMS is provided by local EMS teams.
Each of the MVUs is expected to handle a minimum of 250 people a day initially and in many cases will include same day registration/appointment capacity within the available supply of vaccine. A mark of the MVU’s value is found in its statistics: from March 29 to April 26, the MVU staff vaccinated 8,300 residents. The number will increase dramatically as more supplies become available. On average, the MVU in Connecticut is providing around 300 vaccinations per day, and the MVU’s busiest day in Connecticut saw a total of over 700 individuals vaccinated in one day.
Sharing accurate and timely information about COVID-19 vaccination efforts is critical. We are endeavoring to spread our message to reach as many people as possible. We are doing this by increasing our efforts to support the language needs of people coming into our facilities. We want to be sure everyone who wants a vaccine will have their needs clearly understood.
For more information on how the state is dealing with the pandemic, go to https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Data-Tracker.
It’s up to each of us to do the right thing. COVID-19 is real, and we must continue to find ways to beat it for the good of everyone. Do your part: wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and get vaccinated as soon as you can.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.