Snow nor shortages of vaccines could stop the State of Connecticut and its National Guard from finding a way to come to the rescue of hundreds of UConn Health patients anxiously awaiting the rescheduling of their canceled COVID-19 vaccinations this week.
On Tuesday, February 2 early morning the CT National Guard delivered nearly a thousand first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to UConn Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program from another state location with more ample vaccine supply.
Thanks to the arrival of more vaccine doses UConn Health was fast at work rescheduling and vaccinating its patients whose appointments between Feb. 1-8 were impacted due to national vaccine supply fluctuations.
Hundreds of rescheduled patient vaccinations occurred by appointment only until 8:00 p.m. on Feb. 2 at UConn Health in Farmington at both 16 Munson Road and Outpatient Pavilion vaccination site locations. Hundreds are set to occur again on Feb. 3.
“Our goal is to share these 975 first doses today and tomorrow with our patients,” says Anne Horbatuck, VP of Ambulatory Services at UConn Health. “We are moving down the list of canceled patients starting with today’s and moving forward to reschedule them as quickly as possible.”
“I am feeling good that we can provide this precious resource to our 75 years and older patient population when we know the vaccine supply is scarce,” shared Dr. Kim Metcalf, Primary Vaccine Coordinator for UConn Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program.
“It’s wonderful to see that we are able to provide vaccines to so many recipients who have been waiting and are excited to receive them,” shared UConn Health CEO Dr. Andy Agwunobi. “I cannot be more proud of our teams at UConn Health who have gone above and beyond during this rapidly evolving situation.”
Agwunobi also stressed: “This herculean team effort with the state has allowed us to reschedule and vaccinate nearly 1,000 patients in a little more than one day! We are so grateful for the commitment and close collaboration of the Governor’s Office and the CT DPH in partnering with us to find solutions for our impacted patients.”
And patients sure were happy to get the phone call from UConn Health to learn that their canceled appointments were now available to be back on the schedule immediately.
Barbara Griswold, 92, of Avon is one happy rescheduled vaccine patient. She was accompanied to her rescheduled appointment by her daughter Deborah.
“I just got in from shoveling, and UConn Health called us around 9:00 a.m.,” says Deborah. “I checked with the boss, my Mom, and she was ready to go for her vaccine!”
“I was so surprised today, and it’s wonderful. I am so happy to get it,” exclaimed Griswold who only leaves the house currently to get her hair done each week. “I’d really like to go back to church.”
“We want to keep Mom around for as long as possible,” says Deborah. “This vaccine is the first step.”
And Griswold was very happy to learn the good news that the State, Governor and its National Guard all helped make the rescheduling solution happen for her.
“That’s really nice and great,” she shared as her son and grandson are both U.S. Army members.
“Thank God for them!” also shared Elaine Darcy, 79, and Edward Darcy, 83, of North Granby who got their vaccine together at UConn Health.
“We got a call this morning to come in for vaccination. We are now both overjoyed because we were canceled for Feb. 4 but we now don’t have to start over with getting new appointments,” shared Elaine. “We are very relieved and excited. UConn Health’s vaccine system worked very well. We are so appreciative, especially at our age.”
“We’ve been quarantined together for just about a year due to the virus,” said Edward. “Not getting COVID-19 at our age is our number one goal.”
After learning the Governor and State helped make her 90-year-old Mom’s canceled vaccination rescheduling possible Beayanka Pinckney-Naraine shouted: “Praise the Lord!”
Her mom Rometta Pinckney of Hartford was also thrilled to be finally getting vaccinated at UConn Health.
“It feels good,” said Pinckney who hasn’t left her home or been able to return to her senior day center since March of last year due to the virus, and has had to undergo several COVID-19 tests due to exposures inside her home from healthcare workers providing medical care for her.
“I am so relieved that my Mom is now going to be protected and that she didn’t get the virus,” says Pinckney-Naraine.
Farmington’s Joan Rogers, 87, and Bob Rogers, 88, are longtime patients of UConn Health. Bob is also a UConn graduate from 1955 who majored in pharmacy.
“We got the cancelation call this weekend, and wondered when will we get the vaccine now?” said Joan. “We got the rescheduling call this morning, and now we know why UConn Health has the vaccines for us today! It’s just fantastic not having to wait any more and makes us feel very good. It all turned out to be a very pleasurable experience at UConn Health.”
“It’s been scary knowing how many people have passed away from the virus has been devastating. Thanks to vaccination today I think we are going to now make it!” said Bob. “Hopefully getting vaccinated will get us some normalcy back into our lives.”
When asked if they knew the state and its national guard helped make their vaccination appointment a reality the Rogers both responded: “Amen to that!”
Initially, prior to the Feb. 2 rescheduling at UConn Health thanks to the swift assistance of the CT DPH, UConn also successfully provided those whose Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 first dose appointments were canceled with a rescheduling solution for this upcoming week at an alternative vaccination site in East Hartford.
Note, all other vaccine appointments scheduled beyond Feb. 8 at UConn Health – both first and second dose appointments – are not impacted at this time. As we move forward, it is important to note that because of the ongoing uncertainty in vaccine supply, decisions will need to be made weekly as to whether any additional appointments will need to be canceled. UConn Health is continuing to work with all impacted individuals to find alternatives if cancellations are necessary. Also, UConn Health will be doing all that it can in the coming weeks to increase its future allocation from the state to be able to meet our community’s needs.