It was opening day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, but they weren’t playing baseball Saturday. It was the first day for a major vaccination clinic at the minor league stadium near downtown Hartford as more than 120 people had been vaccinated by mid-afternoon.
The city intends to hold another clinic next Saturday at the stadium and then for continuous Saturdays that will depend on demand as the age limits change for those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Outside the stadium, Mary Ann Carter of Hartford waited briefly for her daughter, Lynda, before they walked in together to receive her shot at the clinic. Carter is still spry and mobile at the age of 84 and said she accepted advice to get the vaccine.
“My children said I should get it,” Carter said.
Physically, she says she feels “wonderful” but has spent much of the past year indoors due to the pandemic. With 60 years in Hartford and 16 years short of the century mark, Carter said she “never, never, never’' has experienced anything like the ongoing pandemic.
Inside the stadium, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said that city officials are trying to spread the word to reach as many residents as possible for the clinic that is run in conjunction with pharmacy students from the University of Saint Joseph School of Pharmacy that holds classes on Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford.
“It’s one piece of the puzzle here in Hartford. It’s not the only piece,” Bronin said of the Yard Goats stadium. “It’s a well-known spot. It’s easy to get to. It’s on the bus line. There’s easy parking, and we’ve got room to move a lot of folks through.”
He noted that further information is available at hartfordct.gov to get a vaccine appointment.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that Connecticut residents should not be discouraged when they read about variants that represent a new strain of the coronavirus.
“The vaccines work against these mutants or variants, and they reduce their severity and prevent them from going to the hospital,” Blumenthal said. “If it can prevent old people from going to the ICU or being on a ventilator, that’s a real plus. Don’t be scared away. Don’t be deterred. Don’t be discouraged. Even if you get it, the disease will be less severe.”
Christopher Keating can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.