COVID-19 vaccines now open to Summit County residents 75 and older
Summit County residents who are 75 or older will be eligible to sign up for an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as early as this week.
An update on vaccine distribution was given during the Summit County Board of Health meeting Tuesday, Dec. 29, and Public Health Public Affairs Coordinator Nicole Valentine said a link to make an appointment will be made available on the county’s website.
Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the county just finished its second week of providing vaccinations to the community, with the first round of the county’s Pfizer vaccine going to hospital staff. Last week, outpatient staff received vaccinations, and over the weekend, two drive-thru vaccination clinics were open to health care workers and first responders.
“Of course, we have a ways to go before we are getting to our general population, but it’s the beginning, and it’s so exciting,” Wineland said. “Over the last two weeks, we’ve given just under 1,000 doses.”
A survey conducted by St. Anthony Summit Medical Center found that 25% to 33% of staff members have chosen not to take the vaccine for various reasons, Wineland said.
This week, Wineland said the county is putting together another drive-thru clinic Thursday, Dec. 31, as it has received 600 more doses of the Moderna vaccine than expected. This clinic will be available for residents ages 75 and older.
County spokesperson Julie Sutor wrote in an email following the meeting that Summit County residents in this age group can sign up for an appointment on the Summit County website beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30.
The drive-thru clinics require 29 staff members, who can administer more than 300 doses of the vaccine in about four hours. The county also has partnered with Safeway and City Market to provide vaccinations for anyone in the current phased distribution plan who can’t make it to the scheduled vaccination days.
Wineland noted that the number of residents 75 and older in Summit County is about 1,500 individuals. The county does not currently have enough doses to vaccinate that entire group, but as more doses come in, residents in that age group will continue to be prioritized.
Wineland explained that various strategies will be used to attempt to reach the 75-and-older population, including the county’s website, the Summit County Community and Senior Center, health care workers and nonprofits like the Family & Intercultural Resource Center. She added that support will be provided in English and Spanish for accessing the virtual appointment sign-up sheet.
While the vaccine itself is free, Wineland said pharmacies might ask for insurance information for administrative fees. Insurance information is not requested at the drive-thru clinic.
“We are going to continue to prioritize our (Phase) 1A and 1B groups going forward just to make sure that they always get to go to the front of the line because of the occupations that they have,” Wineland said. “But we also need to continue to get the vaccine off the shelf and into arms as quickly as possible, and so we will continue to open up those groups as we have vaccines available.”
Wineland noted that officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment came to observe Summit County’s drive-thru vaccination clinic this past weekend and were impressed with the efficiency, particularly amid the county’s climate. She said the county is inviting other communities to observe how Summit County’s drive-thru clinic operates.
Phase 1A: winter
Highest-risk health care workers and individuals:
• People who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
• Long-term care facility staff and residents.
Phase 1B: winter
Moderate-risk health care workers and responders:
• Health care workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients.
• Workers in home health/hospice and dental settings.
• EMS, firefighters, police, correctional workers, dispatchers, funeral services, other first responders and COVID-19 response personnel.
Phase 2: spring
Higher-risk individuals and essential workers:
• People ages 65 or older.
• People of any age with obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer or who are immunocompromised.
• People who interact directly with the public at work, such as grocery store workers and school staff.
• People who work in high-density settings like farms and meat-packing plants.
• Workers serving people that live in high-density settings.
• Other health care workers not covered in Phase 1.
• Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.
Phase 3: summer
The general public:
• Anyone ages 16-64 without high-risk conditions.
Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
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