The city of Hartford and public school leaders issued a public call on Tuesday to get more students in the city vaccinated as data shows less than a third of eligible children in the district are fully immunized.
“We want everyone to be vaccinated. Efforts will therefore continue,” Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said at a press conference at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy.
Despite more than a year of vaccination efforts around the world, the Hartford school system has more unvaccinated than vaccinated children. Only 31% of students in the entire district have received their full round of COVID vaccines.
“The hesitation still exists. There are still barriers, whether it’s our families being busy, whether it’s a barrier to transportation, whether it’s just knowing where to go,” Torres-Rodriguez said.
Throughout the week, families can come and get vaccinated at clinics set up in dozens of schools across the city every evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The clinics are administered by Griffin Health.
Evangielene DuVerger, a mother from Hartford, says she thought vaccinations among students were low, but was surprised to learn how low, which leaves her worried about student health.
“They are very compromised. They don’t control much. So it’s a low number,” she said.
Mayor Luke Bronin says he recognizes families may still have concerns about vaccinating their children, but pointed to high adult vaccination rates to allay concerns, as many families have at least one protected resident.
“They are safe, they are effective and they are important. Hopefully, this first-hand knowledge in almost every family will translate into a greater willingness to get vaccinated, to get children vaccinated,” Bronin said.
As the state’s daily COVID-19 positivity rate rose more than 3.5% on Tuesday, city and school officials say they’re bracing for another surge and hope for more. of their children will be protected from COVID before it arrives.
“There are all these unknowns with COVID, the long-term effects on your cardiovascular system, your brain development. It’s just not worth the risk,” Bronin said.