Two Mass Clinics to Open for Vaccinations of Educators and Childcare Workers in Southeast Connecticut

Two mass vaccine clinics will soon be operating for educators and childcare providers in southeastern Connecticut, through a partnership between the local health districts, the tribal nations and the hospitals. 

School district employees in the Uncas Health District will be able to receive vaccines through a clinic operated by Yale-New Haven Health at Mohegan Sun. Local residents in the Ledge Light Health District will be vaccinated at a new clinic being run at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in partnership with Hartford HealthCare. 

Ledge Light Director Steve Mansfield said his organization hadn’t yet determined how they would be prioritizing districts, but he said they would be considering factors like district size and issues of equity. 

He also said they wanted to make sure that the staff of one school district didn’t all get the vaccine at once, because the potential for adverse reactions might keep those individuals out of school. 

Ledge Light Health District includes eight school districts and about 6,000 educators and childcare providers. Uncas includes ten school districts and about 3,374 educators and childcare providers. 

Patrick McCormack, director of UNCAS Health District, said that making the vaccines available at larger clinics rather than bringing vaccines directly to the school gave the teachers more flexibility with their schedule. He said it removes the risk of having someone miss their chance to get the vaccine if he or she wasn’t there on the day the health department brought the vaccine to their school. 

McCormack said they had surveyed the superintendents in the district to come up with a rough number of vaccines they would need. He then sent the survey to the Department of Public Health. 

Mansfield said the vaccines for these clinics would be allocated to the hospitals. 

According to a statement from Ohm Desphande, vice president of Population Health & Clinical Financial Services, and associate CCO at Yale New Haven Health, the plans to vaccinate teachers are still being developed. 

“We are seeing gradual increases in our allocation over the past month, but it is still well below our overall capacity,” said Deshpande. 

Deshpande added that Yale-New Haven was working to make sure that there was “geographic equity” in how it distributed the vaccine across all of its vaccination sites. 

Maura Fitzgerald, COVID spokesperson at the Department of Public Health, said they would be prioritizing vaccine allocations to districts based upon the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, which identifies areas of heightened vulnerability to repercussions from pandemic. 

Fitzgerald said that the allocations would vary throughout the month based on supply, but that all the health districts would receive enough vaccines to offer clinics throughout the month of March. 

Superintendents and childcare providers will receive a link to the platform MyChart, which they can share with their employees. Employees can create a profile and register for a vaccination appointment through the platform. 

Mansfield and McCormack both said they would be able to vaccinate all eligible school employees and childcare providers in their districts within the month of March. 

Dates and times for the clinics are still being determined.

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