Borough teams up with Waterbury Hospital for vaccination clinic

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

A tent is set up behind the Naugatuck Parks and Recreation building, the former armory, on Rubber Avenue on Jan. 21 for a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Waterbury Hospital and Naugatuck partnered to open the clinic, which will began administering vaccines Jan. 25. -ANDREAS YILMA

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck and Waterbury Hospital have partnered to open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the borough.

The drive-thru vaccination clinic is scheduled to open Monday in the parking lot of the parks and recreation building — the former armory — on Rubber Avenue next to Naugatuck High School.

“Waterbury Hospital approached us to provide us with an additional supplemental site,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said. “The best location is the parking lot between the high school and the armory.”

People will be able to access the clinic through high school grounds. Borough officials will open the gate between school grounds and the former armory site, Hess said.

Waterbury Hospital Director of Communications Lauresha Xhihani said people will need to register through the Vaccine Administration Management System to schedule an appointment to get a vaccine. For information, visit www.waterburyhospital.org/vaccine.

Only people eligible to receive vaccines under the state’s vaccine distribution plan and those with appointments can get a vaccine at the clinic.

Under Phase 1a of the state’s plan, vaccines are now being administered to direct care providers and other critical workers in health care settings, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and first responders at risk of exposure. Residents age 75 and older can now also register for appointments for vaccinations.

Residents age 65 to 74 should be able to start scheduling appointments in early February as the first group under Phase 1b of the plan to be immunized.

“We want to vaccinate as many people as possible so that we can take care of our community, stop the spread (of COVID-19) and save lives,” Xhihani said. “We’re trying the best we can with the resources that we have to extend out to the community.”

After people are vaccinated in their cars, they will be monitored for 15 minutes if they have no allergies and a half an hour if they have a history of allergies, Waterbury Hospital Director of Business Development Jeremy Rodorigo said.

Rodorigo said 100 people are registered for the first day of the clinic. The hope is to distribute 300 doses per day when the clinic is fully up and running, Rodorigo said. The clinic will administer either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“We’re confident that we are going to be able to meet the demands as people register,” Xhihani said.

Waterbury Hospital pharmacists and nurses, Naugatuck firefighters and EMTs from Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 in Beacon Falls will administer the vaccines, said Rodrigo, who is also the public information officer for Beacon Hose.

There will be some costs to the borough, Hess said. Officials will seek reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.

“The hospital oversees the entire operations, but we’re working collaboratively with the borough because they’re providing the human resources,” Rodorigo said. “Neither one can do the operation without the other.”

Vaccination clinics are opening up across the state as health officials work to get people vaccinated.

Waterbury Hospital was set to open another vaccination clinic at Post University in Waterbury this past Monday. Naugatuck Valley Health District is holding immunization clinics at the Seymour Community Center. Chesprocott Health District is operating a clinic at the Cheshire community pool, and Griffin Health is running one in Shelton.