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Clinics focus on vaccinating Connecticut high school and college students

CCSU is giving fully vaccinated students a $50 discount on their housing fees.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Students from Xavier, Mercy and Middletown high schools received their COVID-19 vaccinations over the weekend at Wesleyan University.

Community Health Center (CHC) started efforts to vaccinate people ages 16 and up, whom became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) held a clinic to vaccinate students and provided an extra incentive, while the first clinic specifically for high school students was held Sunday at Wesleyan University.

“We’re all on board,” said Kerry Hart. “We think this is the way out.”

Hart took her 17 year old son Mitchell who attends Middletown High School to Wesleyan University to get vaccinated. She said she supports getting kids vaccinated, so life can return to normal.

“I think this virus is very deadly and I think the more people who get vaccinated, the sooner we will get out of this mess that we’re in,” Hart said.

Mitchell said he was excited about receiving the vaccine.

“I was just excited that hopefully things might be able to return to normal,” Mitchell said. “That I could possibly have a normal end of a senior year.”

One hope was that high school students could enjoy traditional activities at the end of the school year, such as prom and graduation.

The mass vaccination clinic at Wesleyan University has been open since February with assistance from the Army National Guard.

“The soldiers help with logging or checking in all the patients, getting them ready, and making all the nurses' lives a lot easier,” said 2nd Lieutenant Mike Fazzino.

Aubrey Roscoe, the site leader, said there were 640 total appointments on Sunday. 500 were specifically for Middletown High School students. 

“When the age group changed, that did, of course, increase our capacity for the amount of people we can serve,” Roscoe said. The maximum capacity of patients they can vaccinate will be 1800 a day going forward.

Governor Lamont announced in March anyone 16 years old and over would be eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. He said in a recent address the state is moving towards herd immunity with the 65 and up demographic.

“If we can replicate what we do in the older demographic, 65 and above, if we get that to the rest of the state, get those 16 to 44-year-olds up there we’re going to have a really nice summer,” Governor Lamont said.

CCSU was also having a vaccination clinic for students on campus at the Detrick Gymnasium. Event organizers said they hope to vaccinate as many students as possible before summer vacation.

“We weren’t able to have anyone at any sporting events or any of our athletic events,” said CCSU Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. John Tully. “We weren’t able to have as many on-ground classes as we would hoped, so the more students we can get vaccinated, the safer they are, the safer our community is.”

Students who live in residence halls next fall that are fully vaccinated will receive a $50 credit on their housing bill.

“This is my first year actually on campus so I’m just very excited to have the social aspect of life and just to try to get back to normal,” said CCSU junior Tamara Jackson. “I’m really looking forward to a couple of football games actually.”

CCSU anticipated vaccinating about 800 students Sunday. They hope to have another vaccination clinic in the summer or fall depending on availability.