Drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic leads to heavy traffic in Frisco
A drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the county bus barn in Frisco caused traffic to back up for almost a mile down Colorado Highway 9 in Frisco on Friday, March 5.
Summit County Public Health officials planned to administer more than 1,200 doses of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines Friday. It was one of the largest vaccine events the county has taken on to date, with people ages 60-64 and grocery workers eligible for the first time.
County Manager Scott Vargo said one of the possible explanations for the increased traffic is people arriving too early for their appointments.
“We have been trying to encourage folks through the appointment emails they receive and other information to not arrive outside of a relatively short window around your appointment,” he said.
At past clinics, people have been arriving as much as two or three hours early for their appointments, which contributes to backups, he said. He added that visitors coming up for the weekend also might have contributed to the traffic.
Susan Stevens, a Breckenridge resident who qualified for the Pfizer vaccine because of her age, said she arrived in Frisco 30 minutes early for her 10:50 a.m. appointment. Coming from Breckenridge, she said she drove almost all the way to the Interstate 70 exit before getting in line.
Despite the long line, it took Stevens about an hour to get through, get vaccinated and wait for 15 minutes to see if she developed an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
Stevens suspected there might have been people stuck in the line who weren’t trying to get their vaccine. Closer to the turn for Peak One Drive, the county had signs indicating that the right lane was reserved for vaccine appointments. However, those signs were placed far from the end of the line, she said.
“Eventually, you got closer to it, and it said, ’Right lane for vaccinations, left lane thru traffic,’ but a lot of people already had been stuck in traffic for a while before they saw that sign,” Stevens said.
While Stevens was able to get her shot, some people didn’t have the extra time to wait in line for their dose. Greg Warren was with his wife, Nancy Warren, who was scheduled to receive her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Friday.
Nancy Warren’s appointment was scheduled at 12:15 p.m., but the couple wasn’t prepared to wait for more than an hour for her dose.
“The line was going all the way past Frisco down toward the highway,” Greg Warren said. “It was hard to believe. We thought there was maybe a wreck, but, no. It was really the vaccine line. … We would’ve been there for hours waiting.”
For the Warrens, the biggest issue came in the form of communication. Aside from the appointment time, Greg Warren said there was no information about best strategies for arriving at the appointment.
“We really loved how it worked the first dose, and we had to give up on the second dose,” he said. “There’s no way we were going to wait there.”
Greg Warren said the couple is still trying to figure out the next step to get his wife her second dose.
Aside from the traffic issues, Stevens and the Warrens said those who work the clinics have been helpful and kind.
“Everybody who worked there was very, very friendly,” Stevens said. “Except the joke sort of is, 60- to 64-year-olds, bring adult diapers because it did take quite a while.”
Vargo said people who weren’t able to wait in the line and receive their shot should contact the public health COVID-19 questions line at 970-668-9730, which is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
He added that any leftover doses from the vaccine will be given to people on a waitlist or given to other providers in the county to give out to their patients.
“We certainly apologize for any kind of challenge that the traffic creates, but we’re really excited to get this many doses into folks’ arms,” he said.
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