Friday, May 24, 2024

Vaccination Updates and Community Initiatives

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By Walter Owusu, MPH
wowusu@townofstratford.com
Cover Photo of Stratford Health Department Staff

Vaccination Opportunities for All: November Clinic Dates

The Stratford Health Department continues to host vaccination clinics though November. On the 28th of November, residents can receive their COVID-19 (Moderna) and flu shots, ensuring protection against both viruses as we enter the winter months.

Images are from the recent Super Mario Brothers themed vaccination clinic conducted.

Statistics Snapshot: As of May 2023, the Stratford Health Department has administered 401 flu shots and 140 COVID shots. During some of Stratford Health Department’s vaccine outreach events, some Stratford residents who attended these events reported they received their vaccines at their primary care providers and local pharmacies. These numbers highlight Stratford’s commitment to keeping residents protected and actively participating in vaccination efforts.

Vaccine Coverage Update: Federal Coverage Discontinues

In recent developments, the federal government has discontinued providing the COVID-19 vaccine free-of-cost to individuals. This change has raised concerns among residents, particularly those underinsured or without insurance to cover the cost of the vaccine. However, these residents may qualify for coverage under the CDC’s Bridge Access Program, which connects individuals with clinics enrolled in the program to ensure financial barriers do not hinder access to the vaccine. The Stratford Health Department has recognized the need for accessible vaccinations and has enrolled in the Bridge Access Program to provide updated COVID-19 vaccines for uninsured and underinsured individuals. A notable example is the clinic held on October 30, 2023, at the Holy Name of Jesus Food Pantry. More COVID-19 Vaccines are still available at the Stratford Health Department for uninsured and underinsured individuals. Influenza vaccines are also available at the Stratford Health Department through insurance or paying out of pocket. While the Health Department does not offer the RSV vaccine, residents can also get the RSV vaccines at their local pharmacies.

Home Testing Trends

One factor impacting the accurate surveillance of COVID-19 is the shift towards at-home testing. While this method offers convenience, it also poses a challenge in accurately tracking the numbers of COVID cases in the community. Unlike the tests conducted at official testing sites, home tests are not reported to local health authorities, leaving the true extent of the virus’s impact unknown. According to a recent Press Release from the Connecticut Department of Health (CTDPH), there has been one influenza death from Middlesex County and two RSV deaths from New Haven County and Hartford County. Additionally, CTDPH reported sixty-seven COVID-19 associated deaths in Connecticut residents during October. This snapshot of the state in general serves as a reminder that respiratory viral diseases are very active in the state this year.

Walter Walter Owusu, MPH and Health Educator Stratford Health Department roll up his sleeve for his vaccination! Be like Walter and get a vaccination!

Community Call to Action: Follow Protocols, Wash Hands, Stay Safe

In the face of evolving challenges, it is crucial for every member of the community to remain vigilant. CTDPH recommends that everyone ages 6 months or older should receive an annual dose of influenza vaccine, and everyone ages 6 months or older should receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine.  Washing hands regularly, following recommended protocols, and staying informed about vaccination opportunities are essential steps in preventing the spread of respiratory viral diseases.

As we navigate these uncertain times, unity and collective responsibility are our strongest tools. Let us continue to support one another, stay informed, and take the necessary steps to safeguard our community’s health and well-being.

For more information, contact the Stratford Health Department at health@townofstratford.com or 203-385-4090.

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