College students head out into CT communities with substantial COVID transmission to spread word about vaccines

Health

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – College students in Hartford were out canvassing local neighborhoods to try to spread the word about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fourteen college corps students hit the streets of Hartford Thursday to try to spread the word about the COVID-19 vaccine to those who may be hesitant to get the shot.

RELATED: CDC classifies three Connecticut counties as areas with substantial COVID-19 community transmission

The effort comes as New Haven, Hartford, and New London Counties have had enough COVID cases that under CDC guidelines they are classified as areas with “substantial community transmission.”

“I do believe that showing the data, showing that this is going on in Hartford right now that would be critical to basically change the minds of people,” said College Corps Member Zechariah Stephens. 

But that’s not always easy.

“What I’m hearing is ‘it’s not a vaccine either so what’s going on with that?’” one resident asked the students.

“A lot of people are really trepidatious when it comes to getting the vaccine so we really try to give more of a personal aspect as to why we got the vaccine,” said College Corps Member Shavar Johnson.

Quinnipiac University has partnered with the Hartford and New Haven Health Districts to try to reach more people.

“We still have pockets of work to be done,” said Dr. Janelle Chiasera, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University. “Particularly the 15… 18 to 24-year-olds and younger those percentages are far less.”

Health districts in Hartford, New Haven, and New London Counties are finding ways to reach out to the community to try to express how serious they believe this situation is.

“Recently we’ve seen cases associated with daycare establishments, with school settings, with some sports activities and these are clusters among people generally who haven’t gotten vaccinated,” said Stephen Mansfield, director of Health for Ledge Light Health District.

Ledge Light has community health workers who speak English and Spanish reaching out in neighborhoods where they are known and trusted as the COVID numbers rise.

“What that means is when you are in that category the CDC recommends that everyone including fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask in public indoor settings,” said Mansfield.

They can also wear a mask all the time if they choose and individual entities like businesses can require them – even though the state does not mandate masks among the vaccinated.

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