HARTFORD, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont was administered with his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this morning at a clinic that was held at The First Cathedral church in Bloomfield under a partnership with Trinity Health of New England.  Forty-seven members of the church also signed up in advance to be vaccinated at today’s clinic.

The governor, 67, became eligible to receive the vaccine last week when the state expanded phase 1b of its vaccination program to include individuals between the ages of 65 and 74.

“I’m proud to partner with our faith community to make sure everyone eligible for a vaccine in Connecticut can access one,” Governor Lamont said.  “Leaders in our houses of worship in every community are a critical part of ensuring everyone knows the vaccine is safe, and we are making sure every resident of our state has free access to the vaccine regardless of insurance availability or documentation status.  I look forward to visiting more vaccination clinics, particularly at houses of worship.  I want to thank First Cathedral for hosting us today, and all the staff at Trinity Health of New England for building this wonderful clinic.”

“As part of our mission and core values, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide equitable care for all community members,” Dr. Reginald Eadie, president and CEO of Trinity Health Of New England, said.  “At Trinity Health of New England, we have a responsibility bring the COVID-19 vaccine into local neighborhoods to ensure easy, efficient access, and are doing so through our expanded network of vaccine clinics, including pop-up clinics like the one at The First Cathedral.  It is vitally important that we do our part to instill confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine within our local communities, particularly in communities of color and our most vulnerable populations.  We remain dedicated to providing outreach and education about the vaccine.  This includes offering a variety of opportunities for patients to get their questions and concerns answered so they may make an informed decision when it’s their turn to roll up their sleeve and get vaccinated.  We applaud the governor’s work to lead our state through the challenges the pandemic has brought and for his leadership throughout the vaccine roll out. We are, most certainly, all in this together.”

“Over the years of my existence, God has used faith healers and physicians to cure pandemics within our communities,” Archbishop LeRoy Bailey, Jr., senior pastor at The First Cathedral, said.  “Through vaccinations, polio, mumps, measles, chickenpox, flu, shingles, and other epidemics have been managed.  Now God has provided us this vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic.  I suggest that you be vaccinated as I have and put your faith and confidence in God. Get vaccinated.”

“The Connecticut Department of Public Health is committed to ensuring that every resident of our state can find a vaccine when it’s their turn,”  Connecticut’s Acting Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said.  “We are working with vaccine providers across the state to make sure that getting a vaccination is as easy and straightforward as possible.  Seeing more of our community get vaccinated is exciting and means that we are on the road to getting back to normal.  In the meantime, it’s important to keep following public health best practices like wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing – that’s how we’ll get back to normal faster.  I want to thank our residents for their patience as we work hard to make sure that our allocation strategy meets the highest public health standards and that no dose goes to waste.”

Anyone seeking to get vaccinated in Connecticut must schedule an appointment in advance.

For more information on scheduling an appointment, visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.  Those who do not have access to the internet can call the state’s vaccine appointment assist line, which is open seven days a week from 8AM to 8PM, at 877-918-2224.