New Milford exceeding vaccine expectations as eligibility grows

Photo of Currie Engel
A pharmacy technician fills a syringe with Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine last week in Texas.

A pharmacy technician fills a syringe with Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine last week in Texas.

Brett Coomer / Staff photographer

NEW MILFORD — The town has exceeded initial school and child care staff vaccination clinic goals in its first week of operations, and is taking appointments for frontline workers 55 and older two weeks ahead of schedule, Health Director Lisa Morrissey and Mayor Pete Bass said.

“I’m really excited to be here this morning with some really positive news, which I think we could all use today,” Morrissey said during a Friday Facebook livestream. “We are actually really far ahead of where we thought we would be with vaccinations.”

The officials’ unexpected announcement means that limited appointments at the John Pettibone Community Center clinic will be open to more eligible groups on the next two Saturdays.

“This is outstanding news,” Bass said during the livestream.

The state has currently vaccinated 22.2 percent of the total population, according to state data from March 11. And New Milford has vaccinated an estimated 20 percent of its total population as of March 8.

The town opened the doors to its first clinic at the community center just one week ago with the aim of vaccinating all school and daycare staff within three weeks. Now, almost all have received a shot, with a total of 1,310 doses administered since their first day, Morrissey reported.

Since New Milford is currently only operating closed clinics throughout March, appointments are still not available on the federal Vaccine Administration Management System, where providers have been listing appointments for the eligible members of the general public. But frontline workers who are aged 55 and older can now sign up for one of the extra slots through the New Milford town website.

By the end of March, appointments should be loaded into VAMS, Morrissey said.

“We are looking forward to having that clinic on VAMS so we can get even more folks in at the end of the month,” she said.

Morrissey and Bass thanked the various town entities, residents and many volunteers who helped the clinics run smoothly.

“We have an army of volunteers,” Morrissey said. “If it wasn’t for the town being so supportive of our efforts and just showing up in droves to help volunteer to get their community members vaccinated we couldn’t say all this happy news this morning.”

Bass also announced that the town would began their homebound vaccination program Saturday, and Morrissey asked for more clinician volunteers to help their teams.

If you are interested in volunteering, please call 860-355-6059 or email nmvolunteers@newmilford.org.