Summit County officials frustrated with low vaccine allocation
53 appointments will open for people ages 65 and older at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Providers across Summit County received just over 300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to administer this week, Public Health Director Amy Wineland said at a Board of Health meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16.
The allocation is “bleak and disappointing,” Wineland said. Summit County Public Health itself asked for 2,000 doses this week and received only 100.
Initially, the county was expecting to receive even fewer vaccines. Wineland said officials were informed Thursday, Feb. 11, that the county would receive no doses.
However, the county’s board of commissioners advocated for public health to receive doses.
“We were told then that we would get 100 doses, which pales in comparison to what we were hoping to get this week,” Wineland said.
The 310 total doses are a combination of the county’s allocation of 100 and 210 sent to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. The Summit Community Care Clinic and pharmacies at City Market and Safeway received no doses this week.
The state requires one-third of all doses in a community go to educators and child care workers. This week, public health will be giving its 100 doses to the Summit Community Care Clinic to administer to that population and meet the requirement.
The care clinic will be hosting a vaccine drive-thru event Friday, Feb. 19, for educators and child care workers, Wineland said.
People who are 65 and older will have two options for a vaccine appointment this week. The hospital will be saving 150 of its 210 doses for its patient population that falls within the current phase. The remaining 60 doses are being sent from the hospital to the Safeway pharmacy in Frisco.
However, seven of those doses are being used for first responders who haven’t yet received their first dose, so just 53 will be available for people 65 and older, Wineland said.
The county planned to open its vaccine scheduler, which can be accessed by visiting SummitCountyCO.gov/vaccine, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday for the 53 appointments.
To add to the already low number of doses being allocated to the county, state officials said in a Tuesday news release that the 133,000 doses sent to Colorado this week were delayed by winter storms in Tennessee and other southern states.
Wineland said officials aren’t sure whether that will affect public health’s allocation of vaccines. However, she’s confident it won’t impact the distribution plan for this week as clinics are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
She added that the 60 doses sent from Centura Health to Safeway already have arrived, so people who are able to make an appointment through the vaccine scheduler will have a dose waiting for them.
Part of the struggle to secure doses comes from the state’s strategy to give about 50% to 60% of doses to health care systems. Because Centura is the major system in Summit County, the county is competing with hospitals in large metro areas like Denver for vaccines.
To adjust for the problem, Wineland said public health has asked that local Centura officials request more vaccine for Summit County that then could be transferred to public health to administer.
“We know we can get a lot of vaccine off the shelves and into arms,” she said. “That was sent up the flagpole at Centura, and they’ve offered to ask for additional doses in the next two weeks.”
While extra doses from Centura would help, county officials also are asking the state to reconsider its approach for mountain communities.
Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said commissioners from across Colorado met with officials in charge of state allocation to request that they reconsider the current strategy.
“There was an overwhelming response from rural counties and mountain resort areas that all said it doesn’t work for you necessarily to give our vaccines to providers,” she said. “We’re oftentimes part of a bigger Front Range health care system and maybe then we get the leftovers. It works better for public health to distribute these out.”
Lawrence said the state “seemed agreeable” to the request.
“We have these systems in place … and know our community,” she said. “Regardless of who’s actually putting the shot in the arm, at least public health can make the best decisions of where the vaccine goes.”
The following places offer testing for the virus in Summit County:
• Centura Health’s Centers for Occupational Medicine in Frisco: Testing available daily by appointment at the Vista Professional Building. To schedule an appointment, call 970-668-5584.
• State testing in Silverthorne: Drive-thru testing available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 591 Center Circle. No appointment, insurance or identification required.
• Vail Health testing in Breckenridge: Testing available by appointment from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the Speakeasy Movie Theater, 103 S. Harris St. To book an appointment, go to VailHealth.org/covidscheduling.
People ages 65 and older, health care workers, first responders and educators are all eligible for the vaccine. The following links have information about how to schedule a coronavirus vaccination appointment across the state:
• Summit County: SummitCountyCo.gov/vaccine (Individuals who need assistance scheduling an appointment can call 970-668-9730.)
• Centura Health: Centura.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-information
• List of vaccination providers across Colorado: CoCOVIDVaccine.org
Educators and child care workers should ask their employer about scheduling an appointment. People with questions about the local response to COVID-19 can call the county’s hotline at 970-668-9730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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