MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont and Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford gathered with city leaders in Meriden to get their flu shots.
Maloney High School in Meriden hosted a pop-up flu clinic for school district teachers and staff. Lamont and Gifford expressed concerns over flu season overlapping with a rise in COVID cases.
“Flu symptoms and COVID symptoms are pretty similar. That’s why I don’t want any confusion when it comes to schools or any confusion when it comes to the hospitals,” said Lamont.
“There’s never been a simultaneous COVID and flu season before. This is the first time we’re all going to be experiencing it,” said Gifford, “We want to make sure that at the same time we’re seeing increases in COVID around the state that we don’t also see a bad flu season. That would be difficult for individuals, but also for our health care systems, emergency departments, hospitals, clinics.”
400 people were expected to get their shots in just one day at the clinic. Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati says he’s seen a demand for the shot, greater than other years.
“I think people are being more proactive than they were before. In the past, we would have to issue reminders pretty consistently whereas now people are reaching out wondering ‘how do I get my flu shot? When can I get my flu shot?’” said the Mayor, adding, “We want to make it accessible, we want to make it easy.”
School district paraprofessionals JoAnn Carrocca and Cynthia Smitt made sure to get their vaccine. They weren’t expecting all the news cameras—they’re just glad the message is getting out.
“With the pandemic going on, I think it’s more important than ever to keep our students and staff safe,” said Carrocca.
“It’s scary the things that are going on. We’re doing our best at the schools everywhere,” said Smitt. “I just hope it gets better. I really do.”
The City is planning on opening up the flu clinic to the general public soon. At that time, children will be eligible to get vaccinated for free.