Summit County officials prepare to vaccinate newly eligible groups
With more people qualifying for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, Feb. 8, Summit County officials have spent the past week planning for bigger vaccine distribution events.
At a Board of Health meeting Thursday, Feb. 4, Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland gave an update on the local vaccine distribution plan. Starting Monday, the state will move into Phase 1B.2, which opens the vaccine to people ages 65-69, educators and child care workers alongside people ages 70 and older, health care workers and first responders.
While Monday is the set date for the transition to the new phase, it doesn’t mean people will be able to be vaccinated locally on that day, Wineland said.
“It’s important for our community to know that we aren’t going to be having clinics on Monday,” she said. “We won’t even be getting our vaccine until Monday or Tuesday.”
The county ordered 2,000 doses of the vaccine for the next week. As of Thursday afternoon, officials didn’t know how many doses the county would receive. They often get that information late into the evening on Thursdays, officials said.
Once the county knows how many doses it will get next week, officials will send out messaging about available appointments through the Summit County Alert system, which people can sign up for at SCAlert.org. The county also will post information about how to sign up for an appointment at SummitCountyCO.gov/vaccine.
Only those who are 65 or older should sign up for an appointment through the county. People who work in schools and child care centers will have vaccine appointments coordinated through their employers.
The county is planning to host a drive-thru vaccination event Thursday, Feb. 11, for people ages 65 and older. That group also will have the option to get vaccinated through Centura Health, the Summit Community Care Clinic, the Ebert Family Clinic and City Market and Safeway pharmacies.
On Feb. 13, the county also hopes to host a drive-thru distribution event including everyone who is eligible. Whether that event happens depends on how much of the vaccine the county receives.
With the knowledge that more people are going to get vaccinated, officials also took the meeting as an opportunity to remind people to continue following public health guidelines, even if they have received the vaccine.
“Even if someone gets vaccinated, that doesn’t mean that they can start to shirk some of those suggested behaviors from public health,” Commissioner Josh Blanchard said.
Wineland added that while the vaccine is 95% effective, some people might be able to contract the virus and experience mild or no symptoms, which means they could transmit it to people who haven’t gotten a shot.
“It’s really, really critical that everyone in our community continues to wear masks and physical distance,” she said.
In the future, officials hope to increase vaccine distribution events to be able to regularly vaccinate 3,000 people per day. The county’s Emergency Management Director Brian Bovaird said he’s challenging his team to outperform UCHealth’s mass distribution event that vaccinated 10,000 people over the course of two days.
“Once I heard that the metro area did 10,000, it kind of brought out the big city emergency manager in me, and I got really competitive,” he said. “Then I found out it was 10,000 over a weekend, and it was only 5,000 a day. So before the end of this, if we can get the vaccine, we will do a (drive-thru) with 5,001.”
The following links have information about how to schedule a coronavirus vaccination appointment across the state:
• Summit County vaccines: SummitCountyCo.gov/vaccine
• Centura Health vaccine appointments: Centura.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-information
• List of vaccination providers across Colorado: CoCOVIDVaccine.org
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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