Video: Dancing worker 'reflected the moment' at CT COVID vaccine clinic

Photo of Tara O'Neill

EAST HARTFORD — Standing among yellow and orange cones on the retired runway at Pratt & Whitney airport, one man determined to lighten the mood of the COVID-19 vaccine experience caught the attention of Duby McDowell.

McDowell, who at the age of 60 became eligible for the vaccine on Monday, spotted Gary Dowd on her way out of the Community Health Center’s mass vaccination clinic on Thursday.

“As all the cars were exiting, this man was there directing us,” said McDowell, a Hartford resident and president of McDowell Communications Group. “And then I looked and saw he was doing a lot more than just directing us.”

“Vaccine Village” opened on Jan. 17 as the state’s first outdoor mass vaccination clinic on the old runway in East Hartford.

Dowd, who Pratt & Whitney identified as one of “one of many helpers” at the clinic, was wearing a neon yellow vest that read “protective services” and was busting out dance moves.

McDowell shared the video on social media, where it has been viewed more than 7,000 times.

She said Friday that Dowd was embodying the way she, and others, felt after getting their vaccines.

“When you get that first dose, it’s such an incredible mix of excitement, relief and emotion,” McDowell said. “You feel like getting up and dancing or celebrating in some way. And to see him doing just that really reflected the moment so perfectly.”

But it wasn’t just Dowd who made the experience, McDowell said the buzz in the air was palpable with everyone she encountered at the clinic — from the National Guard members helping keep order to the person who administered her vaccine.

“I think they get that everybody there is really excited,” she said. “It seemed like they all know that everybody coming in has heightened emotions and excitement. They didn’t treat this like a routine procedure.”