More high-volume COVID vaccination sites open in CT as more residents become eligible for vaccine


WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– As more Connecticut residents become eligible for the COVID vaccine, more high-volume vaccination sites are opening up, the latest in the lobby of the Oakdale Theater.

People usually come to the Oakdale theater to hear a concert. Monday, the headliner is the COVID vaccine, and that is music to the ears of many people.

The doctor giving one of the first shots, and the guy getting the shot, are both very glad to be at the Oakdale. The guy is Westbrook resident Joe Boccia. He was at the head of the line as the Oakdale opened as a mass vaccination site. He wants the shot so he can see his 8 year-old grandson more.

“Spend a lot of time with him and he’s special needs, and it’s been a rough road helping our children bring up our grandson,” Boccia said.

The doctor giving the shot is Dr. Camelia Lawrence, a surgeon and director of Breast Surgeon at MidState Medical Center. She is volunteering her time to deliver the vaccine.

“I think it’s so important that we get the message out to all the communities that have been impacted by this virus,” Dr. Lawrence explained. “So that we can get ahold of this, and that we can make sure that everyone has access.”

Hartford Health designed the Oakdale site to increase that access. Right now, they can deliver as many as a thousand doses a day, but they can ramp that up when more vaccine gets here.

Hundreds of thousands of people just became eligible for the vaccine when the minimum age dropped to 55 years old. Phone lines and websites have been jammed. Early Monday morning the CVS website showed no more available appointments.

Boccia signed up weeks ago, but his wife only became eligible Monday morning. She got up at 5 a.m. to navigate the website.

“We got through it. It was confusing, but we got through it,” Boccia said. “We had to get some help. I think it will get better.”

If you have trouble making a vaccine appointment, don’t get discouraged. There were a lot of people who suddenly became eligible today. The experts say to trying waiting a few days until the initial rush is over.

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