After weeks of frustration, officials hopeful county’s vaccine supply is stabilizing

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/2/21

When it comes to getting vaccinated through Clear Creek County Public Health, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the county had to cancel its Feb. 24 vaccination clinic after its …

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After weeks of frustration, officials hopeful county’s vaccine supply is stabilizing

Posted

When it comes to getting vaccinated through Clear Creek County Public Health, there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that the county had to cancel its Feb. 24 vaccination clinic after its shipment of vaccines was delayed by weather and didn’t arrive in time. About 100 people’s second doses had to be rescheduled.

However, the good news is those vaccines arrived on Thursday, and the county will be hosting a clinic this week. Those who were scheduled for Feb. 24 will receive them this week.

Additionally, Public Health Director Tim Ryan said Friday he believed this week’s 100 vaccines would arrive on time and go toward second-dose patients as well. And, if all goes well, the county could receive 300 more vaccines for first-dose patients, too.

“We’ve been the squeaky wheel, trying to be heard,” Ryan said Friday of coordinating with state health officials to get vaccines.

At the state level, there’s even more good news as Colorado moves to Tier 1B.3 this Friday. Grocery workers, those 60 and older, and adults with two or more high-risk conditions will be eligible for the vaccine.

Ryan said his department has been working with local businesses to ensure they’re prepared whenever their employees are eligible.

Then, at the national level, the federal government has told states vaccine production and distribution will be ramping up, especially as the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine has been approved, Ryan described.

As of last week, county personnel had vaccinated almost 2,000 people with about 800 having received both doses. However, Ryan said that doesn’t account for residents and teachers who were vaccinated elsewhere.

“Whether we get 100 or 1,000 (vaccines) in a week, we have the ability to vaccinate as many as we get,” he continued. “We’ve been preparing for the Super Bowl all season, so to speak.”

He still asked for community members’ patience. As more individuals become eligible, the county will try to get them vaccinated as soon as possible, he said.

Last week’s frustrations

Ryan and other local officials had a much different tone at the Feb. 23 county commissioners meeting, when Ryan described how it was the second week in a row that Clear Creek hadn’t received any additional vaccines.

Overall, the county has order more than 4,000 vaccines and has received less than 1,500, and Ryan felt state officials weren’t providing adequate answers as to why Clear Creek’s vaccine supply had been so inconsistent.

“(Eagle County) hasn’t gone a week without vaccines,” he told the commissioners. “This is our third time in the last month where we’ve gone without any vaccines.”

The commissioners were likewise frustrated.

“I’m surprised that we don’t have any visibility into what’s going on,” Commissioner Sean Wood said. “We don’t have any insight into whether they’ll show up or won’t.”

According to Brian Spencer, a spokesman for the Colorado State Joint Information Center, the county’s doses come from the state’s weekly allocation, which is determined by the federal government. These numbers are subject to change, often on short notice.

The state website’s county vaccine distribution data shows the difference between a county’s percent of doses distributed and its percent of the state population.

For instance, on Friday, Arapahoe County was at the low end chart with -6.3%, while Adams County was at the other end with 5.4%. This means Adams County is much further ahead of vaccinating people relative to the state population than Arapahoe County is.

As of Friday, Clear Creek was at -0.03%.

Spencer clarified that some of this data is skewed by large hospital systems that serve other counties and host mass vaccination clinics, as is the case with the UCHealth Anschutz campus in Adams County.

For anyone who has questions on how to access the vaccine, Spencer said they may call 1-877-268-2926. This hotline is available 24/7.

For other COVID-19 related questions, visit covid19.colorado.gov/CovidConcerns.

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