OXFORD — First Selectman George Temple told the Board of Selectmen, meeting Wednesday, January 6, that he met with the Health Commission to discuss updates on Covid-19 vaccines and suggested possibly setting up clinics in Oxford.
He said he talked with Pomperaug Health District Director Neal Lustig about future clinics in Oxford and setting up a schedule. He added he wanted to get the approach to administering the vaccine in writing
Mr. Lustig told Voices that transporting the vaccine to various locations could be difficult since the vaccine needs to be stored at subzero temperatures. He added nurses would have to load and unload heavy equipment in order to comply with temperature requirements at any clinics outside of current locations. He said he would take Oxford clinics under consideration.
“We are serving our community to the best of our ability,” said Mr. Lustig. “It’s not easy to move that equipment.”
Mr. Lustig added the Pomperaug Health District already has an organized system in place and is making Covid-19 vaccination appointments for people who fall under the Phase 1a category, which includes healthcare personnel and long-term facility residents.
He said the health district is close to completing Phase 1a within its area and is awaiting the governor’s orders to proceed with Phase 1b.
Gov. Ned Lamont has announced that Connecticut will follow the CDC’s recommended guidelines for administration of the vaccine. Phase 1b includes frontline essential workers such as firefighters, correction officers, incarcerated people, food/agricultural workers, postal workers, the educational sector of teachers/support staff/daycare workers, transit workers, grocery store workers and anyone over the age of 75.
Mr. Lustig pointed out the Allocation Committee decides who falls under Phase 1b, despite both Mr. Temple and Oxford’s superintendent offering input about who should be vaccinated next. Mr. Lustig noted there is no federal or state funding for the vaccine. He said the vaccine is free, but administering it and setting up clinics has costs.
According to the CDC website, the vaccine doses are purchased with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars and will be given at no cost; however, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee.
The CDC website also states, “vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.” Currently many insurance companies do not have a listed cost for Covid-19 vaccines.
Mr. Lustig said the health district’s initial plan is to stay at the current location in Southbury and, when provided with more vaccines, possibly go on the road. He said allowing local towns to determine when and where the clinics should be would put the Pomperaug Health District in a difficult position.
During the selectmen’s meeting, Mr. Temple noted the state is having a hard time accessing the Pfizer vaccine and has been mainly providing Moderna. The governor hasn’t announced a specific day when Phase 1b will go into affect, but a majority of Connecticut’s nursing homes should be vaccinated with round one of the Covid-19 vaccine by January 8.
In other news, selectmen approved $15,000 for the Oxford Support Committee for the Oxford Historical Society’s request to make Mr. Munn’s Schoolhouse handicapped-accessible, repair windows and clapboards.
Mr. Temple said he saluted the historical society for keeping Oxford in touch with its past. He added the funding comes from the power plant community fund to the town.
The selectmen tabled approval for the 589 Investments LLC option contract for purchase of Lot 17 on East Commerce Drive. Mr. Temple stated the town attorney did not like the way the contract was written and selectmen will look it over for their next meeting.