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The ‘Shot in the Arm’ the community needs is here.

Each member of the Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) COVID-19 testing team received a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18. In addition to CCPH’s commitment to ensure safety for its frontline staff, CCPH will also make vaccines available soon to high-risk individuals within the community.

Tanya M. Wait, CCPH COVID-19 Registered Nurse reflected the attitude of the health workers.

“I have a sense of pride and excitement to be one of the first people in our county to get this vaccine,” she said. “We get to be part of something groundbreaking and I couldn’t feel more honored.”

Cassondra Franco, RN, BSN, Clinical Coordinator for Chaffee County Public Health shows off her vaccination site. CCPH courtesy photo.

Cassondra Franco, RN, BSN, Clinical Coordinator for Chaffee County Public Health admitted she overcame some skittishness.
“As much as I hate needles (I know, I give lots and lots of shots, but when the needle is pointed toward me, I am a mess!), I was excited. And, I’m thrilled to have my first dose in! We are not in the clear yet, but with every vaccine given, we are that much closer to a pre-COVID normal,” she said.

Frontline healthcare workers at the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) also started receiving the vaccine shots Thursday at the hospital.

CCPH officials said the department will host its first COVID-19 community vaccination clinic in the near future. Instructions on how to sign up will be provided soon. The first clinic will be one of several for phase one of the distribution plan, to include vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna.

Emily Anderson, RN, BSN, for Chaffee County Public Health expressed appreciation for the unprecedented scientific work it took to get to this vital point.

“For months I’ve worn masks, avoided large gatherings, canceled travel, and said ‘no’ to many of my kids’ activities,” she commented. “All with the goal to protect my community, keep our businesses open, and ensure our medical system continues to function. But this vaccine is the ticket out of this pandemic. I feel humbled to have been one of the first to receive this vaccination, and so incredibly proud of the teamwork and science it has taken to get to this point,” she added.

CCPH has been working with HRRMC and Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services, for several months, to specifically identify those in the community who will be first in line for the second phase of distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The distribution phases for Chaffee County and the State of Colorado were determined by federal guidelines, according to April Obholz Bergeler, CCPH Communications Specialist

The three phases of distribution for CCPH are:

In phase one, CCPH will be getting a small supply of vaccines, which will be for high-risk individuals. Once phase one is complete, CCPH will communicate with the appropriate groups and populations.

The vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna in the second phase will be for higher-risk workers and essential workers. Immunosuppressed individuals are also included in phase two. CCPH highly recommends that this population speak with their doctor(s) regarding any specific questions related to the vaccine. CCPH will not have a sign-up list for phase two of the vaccine distribution.

The third phase will be for the general public. This phase will most likely start in the spring or summer of 2021.

The vaccines are two doses spaced 21-28 days apart. Each vaccinated individual should acquire immunity approximately seven days after the second dose.

For further details about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit For frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit

Registered Nurse Terry Wait gives a thumbs up after her vaccine shot at CCPH.

For questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and/or vaccine distribution plan for CCPH, contact CCPH at