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NEW HAVEN — A mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit for city residents is ongoing on the Green, with a goal to vaccinate a thousand residents Thursday and Friday, according to officials

City Emergency Management Director Rick Fontana said the effort is a collaboration between the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state, the city and Griffin Health.

“It’s meant to vaccinate underserved populations that may not have transportation,” Fontana said.

He said people should call or schedule an appointment online and it is exclusive to New Haven residents.

Alex Sinha, 37, who was in line Thursday morning, said, “I’ve been waiting for a while.”

“I’m in the lowest age band with a vulnerable child at home,” Sinha said.

Sinha said he will continue to be “conservative” at home while they wait for a pediatric vaccine.

He and his wife were scheduled through Yale, but Griffin Hospital called them and said there was something closer to them, on the Green.

Joe Carmichael, 52, who also was waiting, said it was his birthday. A news crew learned this and led the line in singing “Happy Birthday” to him. He said he was scheduled to get a shot in two weeks from yesterday, “but I got lucky” that Griffin Hospital called him to schedule this. He said he is looking forward to the future after this.

“That’s why I’m getting this shot: to keep on living,” Carmichael said.

Robert O’Mara, spokesman for Griffin Hospital, said early Thursday afternoon the clinic was expected to administer 500 vaccine doses by the end of the day, and another 500 on Friday.

Hospital and city officials made extensive efforts to spread the word about the event, according to O’Mara, including email blasts to hard-hit neighborhoods and robocalls from the mayor and the hospital.

One person who heard about the clinic was Etta McKnight, who said she did not make an appointment but decided stop by the Green, where she was able to get her vaccine.

She had been trying on and off for a couple of weeks to get vaccinated without success, she said, adding that the Vaccine Administration Management System was not very easy to use.

But one thing was easy for McKnight: getting the shot itself.

“It was simple,” McKnight said. “I said, ‘you’re done?’ She said, ‘yeah.’”

With protection against the virus, McKnight looked forward to going to her grandson’s college graduation in North Carolina in May, she said.

“I had a dream years ago, and the dream is being fulfilled,” McKnight said.

As for those with appointments, city spokesman Gage Frank said 840 vaccinations had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Despite a 20-minute issue with VAMS, he continued, operations had gone smoothly.

Eighty-eight sign-ups came after a Red Cross canvassing event over the weekend, according to Frank.

Mayor Justin Elicker said at a press conference at the clinic that he had attended the canvassing event, part of an effort “to ensure that equity is at the forefront of our response to COVID-19.”

“I’m so proud of the fact that we have focused on historically underserved communities throughout this pandemic, and continue to do so today.”

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who also spoke at event, said Connecticut was the first state chosen to host FEMA mobile clinics.

Forty percent of state residents had been fully vaccinated, according to Bysiewicz, who said 60 percent were expected to have at least a first dose by the end of the month.

City, state and federal officials will visit a mobile vaccination unit on the city Green, sharing the news that residents can be inoculated against the coronavirus there.

Health Director Maritza Bond, Dan McElhinney, the acting deputy regional administrator for FEMA, and Patrick Charmel, CEO of Griffin Hospital, also visited the clinic.

“Today is a special day because just six months ago we were here testing at this very site, and now we are here, six months later, offering vaccinations without partners, and that right there is celebration-worthy,” Bond said.

“The site will operate Thursday, April 8, and Friday, April 9, from 10AM to 5PM on the New Haven Green. Vaccinations at this site are for New Haven residents only,” Frank said in an email.

To schedule an appointment for the clinics on the Green, New Haven, residents are encouraged to call Griffin Hospital at 855-691-6369 or visit