NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Educating young people about the benefits and importance of getting vaccinated. A public awareness campaign seems to be one reason for improving COVID numbers in New Haven.
It’s all made possible through a federal grant that the state received to promote and increase vaccine equity targeting underserved communities, including communities of color.
New Haven is just one of 27 Connecticut municipalities to share in the grant money. On Tuesday at city hall, Mayor Justin Elicker highlighted the city’s recent decline in the number of people hospitalized. More than 500 pop-up vaccination sites around the city have helped, according to Health Director Maritza Bond.
Elicker was also quick to credit the student-athletes for being leaders.
“Having young people that are willing to put themselves out there to do the right thing and encourage their friends, be role models to their friends is a big deal, and one of the many reasons our vaccination rates are increasing among young people,” Elicker said.
Elicker says more than 50 percent of young people in New Haven have received their first dose, while just under 42 percent are fully vaccinated.
“I did this because I just want to help the city out, and I just hope everybody gets vaccinated so we can get back to sports and everything else,” said Alfredo Delgado Jr., a Wilbur Cross basketball player.
“I got the vaccine so I could be safe and put everybody around me into safety,” said Christian McCLease, a Wilbur Cross Basketball player.
With regard to city employees, 90 percent have registered for New Haven’s vaccination tracking system. Bond called the city’s progress a major milestone.
“We always say that it starts with the community and ends with the community,” Bond said. “That is my motto and I really, truly believe that the reason why we have been able to achieve and be the leading urban city in Connecticut is because we are ensuring that. We are being inclusive of our partners. We are collaborative.”