In response to Governor Polis’ announcement last week that there are to be changes made in phase 1 of distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, Chaffee County Public Health has worked hard over the last week to thoughtfully and strategically rethink its protocols and processes.
In summary, the changes include adding the 70+ population, “frontline essential workers”, state government, and frontline journalists. This was not disclosed to CCPH until right before the announcement. Therefore, CCPH intends on adding a second day to its vaccination schedule, offering an online scheduling option for those who truly are part of the first phase at this time, and pushing out information through multiple channels when it is ready for specific groups.
“I know many of you are getting or have questions, and over the past week, my team and I have been exploring options on how to efficiently and equitably rollout a comprehensive vaccination program with very little state support and guidance, especially in light of the Governor’s announcement last week on the revision of phases. While we were hearing about this at the same time as the public, we are adapting our plans accordingly to meet the new expectations. I can’t thank you enough for your patience, understanding, and support. Please help us messaging that: we will not be keeping lists for those in phase 1 (although, there might be times when there are clinic lulls or doses needed to be distributed before they expire and thus need to call in to those close by to us), we will be launching an online scheduling system to get people in phase 1 vaccinated, please do not call your medical provider, the hospital, or public health regarding vaccines at this time. We will be taking this week to thoughtfully and strategically plan for those who fall within phase 1. We all need our phone lines and e-mail open for urgent and emergent matters. Rest assured, we will get to vaccinating those that fall within phase 1 in the weeks to come,” states Andrea Carlstrom, CCPH Director and Incident Commander.
Once the scheduler is launched, we will hope that other healthcare workers and responders that have not gotten vaccinated will be first in line. Following them, CCPH will welcome the
70+ population, and following them, perhaps a few weeks out, we will ask for those who are considered critical and essential workers. A detailed description of those professions are still forthcoming from the state. Until then, all businesses/employers that are currently operating in Chaffee County are included in this phase. Please note that capacity will be limited, and CCPH hopes that those who feel lower risk will wait it out until our most public facing businesses take their turn. We will have to turn people away if the volume is too great.
In the upcoming days, CCPH will be launching an electronic scheduler and will give information on how to access it. If members of our community have a hard time accessing it, CCPH will be available to add them to the scheduler. In addition, we will be working on our process for administering second doses.
Vaccines distributed by CCPH are for Chaffee County residents only. Primary residence should be in Chaffee County, the exception being those who work in the county and can’t get vaccinated from their residential county. For those who spend time in other areas, it is important to commit to the 2 doses in the span of 28 days commitment.
In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is working with other interested healthcare providers and pharmacies so that they become distribution sites in future phases. Chaffee County has several for Phase 2 at this time.
CCPH does not need any more volunteers for its vaccination efforts. “Thank you to those of you who have reached out to us over the past several months. At this time, we do feel equipped with the appropriate staffing and volunteer base to meet the vaccination needs of our county, and we are grateful for the outpouring of support.”
CDPHE is expected to launch its vaccine demographic update site in the near future, and CCPH is awaiting information before we create our own version.
For further details about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine. For frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq.
“We are three weeks into a very long vaccination process. Please help us in promoting COVID-19 compliance while communicating that full vaccination will happen through the next months. Over time, there will be other vaccine providers able to give out the vaccine. AND, we must continue to follow the 5 Commitments to Containment. Even when vaccinated, we still have a part to play to reduce the spread of this deadly virus in our county.”