Summit County Public Health receives over 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week
Health officials hope to have all eligible educators vaccinated by the end of next week
After two weeks of dismal vaccine supply, Summit County public health officials finally received suffice doses to host their vaccine drive-thru clinics.
At a Board of Health meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23, Lauren Gilbert, a registered nurse with the county who is now helping with the vaccine effort, said the county public health department received more than 1,000 doses this week.
The increase in doses means the county is able to host two drive-thru distribution clinics Thursday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 27. Gilbert said the increase in doses means the county expects to administer a first dose to the majority of eligible educators by the end of next week.
“We’re hoping to just have a couple stragglers after that and utilizing our partner at the Summit Community Care Clinic to capture those,” Gilbert said.
In total, the county has heard from about 800 educators and child care workers who are interested in receiving the vaccine. Around 500 of those are Summit School District employees. The remaining 300 account for other licensed child care providers throughout the county.
This week, about 350 educators will join 300 others who already have received vaccines. That leaves around 150 for the Care Clinic to vaccinate next week.
Gilbert said there isn’t a clear explanation for why public health was able to secure so many more vaccines this week than the previous two. Over the week of Feb. 8, providers across the county received 600 doses, and last week, providers across the county received 300.
A possible explanation for the change is that the county ordered Pfizer vaccines this week, which are more difficult to store than the Moderna vaccine because of freezing requirements. Gilbert said it’s possible that Moderna is in higher demand than Pfizer because not all counties have the capability to meet the Pfizer freezing requirements.
“This was the first time that we had tried ordering Pfizer in a large quantity because we needed some for second doses,” she said. “We know that Pfizer is a little bit more challenging with the ultra cold storage, and once you take it out of that, you only have five days to use it. So I think that’s why a lot of counties are preferring the Moderna.”
This week also marks the first time the county will be using the CoMassVax.org preregistration link to schedule appointments. Gilbert said the county had around 700 people who were 65 and older sign up through the system. Most, but not all, of those people will be able to be vaccinated at the county’s clinics this week, she said.
Those who aren’t able to get an appointment this week will be reentered in a lottery drawing next week. Because the county wants to make sure the system is equitable for those who don’t have easy access to the internet, public health officials are not prioritizing people who signed up first.
Gilbert also said the county will be notifying via email only people who did get an appointment. Those who entered into the lottery but didn’t get an appointment won’t receive any communication from the county this week.
“If they don’t receive an email, then they can infer that they will be included in next week’s selection process,” Commissioner Josh Blanchard said.
County spokesperson Nicole Valentine said that with the change to the new system, the county will be moving away from using SC Alert on a weekly basis.
Valentine added that only people who are eligible for the vaccine should be registering on the site. Educators are vaccinated through their employer, so they do not need to register.
“We do anticipate that there will be future enhancements to this system that will allow individuals in future phases to select their occupation and be better screened for upcoming appointments,” she said.
The following links have information about how to get vaccinated:
• To get on a list to be vaccinated through the public health department in Summit County, or any other county, visit CoMassVax.org.
• A full list of providers in 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
People ages 65 and older, health care workers, first responders and educators are eligible for the vaccine. 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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