Blumenthal 'inspired' as he toured Shelton vaccine clinic

SHELTON — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal toured Griffin Hospital’s vaccination center Friday, praising the health care workers and reinforcing his support for a $1.9-trillion federal “rescue package.”

As he walked through the Progress Drive center, which opened two weeks ago to lines of people ready to be vaccinated, Blumenthal said the rescue package would bring billions of dollars to Connecticut — money that he said could be used to obtain more vaccines.

He said he continues to call on Congress to approve additional funding for more vaccines, which he says would “save lives and enable us to conquer the pandemic and revive the economy.”

“I am so inspired and excited to see these great health care workers literally saving lives,” Blumenthal said. “The number of vaccines need to be expanded … this facility can do a lot more, and that is why I am fighting for supplies of this life-saving vaccine.”

The facility, constructed in less than two weeks, enables Griffin Health to “efficiently and comfortably serve the COVID-19 vaccination needs of people throughout the region in an easily accessible location,” according to a hospital statement.

Overall, Christian Meagher, Griffin Health Services communications specialist, said 1,050 vaccines were administered on opening day on Jan. 20.

“We are averaging 1,000 vaccinations every weekday and 1,000 on the weekend, so we have been administering more than 6,000 a week,” Meagher said, adding that more than 12,000 vaccinations have been administered at the center to date.

With the Griffin Health operation now open, the city now has two vaccination centers — the second in Hartford HealthCare’s building on Research Drive, which also opened two weeks ago.

The Griffin Health vaccination center is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 6 a.m. to noon on the weekends.

According to hospital officials, staff estimates that at least six vaccines an hour can be administered at each of the center’s 14 vaccination stations, averaging more than 1,000 vaccines a day in total on weekdays and more than 1,000 over the weekend for a total of more than 6,000 vaccinations a week.

The call center is staffed by 15 operators who are specially trained to schedule vaccination appointments and to accept “warm” transfers from the state 211 information line.

“We need a major national commitment for more supplies so that more supplies (of the vaccine) so that more folks can come to these great clinics and get a life-saving vaccine that will help them, and help us,” Blumenthal added.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com