As people of all demographics attempt to understand the COVID-19 vaccine phases and sign up to get their dose of life-saving vaccines, confusion has been the most common emotion. The phases are priority lists for which of America’s vulnerable populations are eligible to get the vaccines.
But just as has happened throughout the pandemic, states have proceeded based upon state priorities and local conditions, and all have been impacted by the limited supply of vaccines.
First up has been healthcare workers and first responders, then the age demographic of age 70 and older. But debates have raged over whether critical workforce like teachers, school staff, grocery store workers should come next. Others ask if people with comorbidities like heart disease, asthma, or cancer should come next.
Then Colorado Governor Jared Polis threw a curveball to county public health departments across the state. Dropping the vulnerable age group receiving vaccines from age 70 to age 65, has caused confusion about who could next register for the next vaccine clinics.
Supply is expected to improve; yesterday the federal government announced $200 million in contracts with Pfizer and Moderna.
Research into efficacy for younger audiences is proceeding. According to a recent interview given by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to Propublica, children as young as first-graders may be able to get the coronavirus vaccine by the time school starts in September, presuming trials are successful in those age groups.
But between then — and now — there is this debate over how to prioritize who comes next and millions of people are seeking out a vaccination reservation. Chaffee County Public Health (CCPh) and the vaccine partners throughout this county have done at least as well as other counties in getting shots into arms.
Exact numbers are hard to come by because of reporting delays. But from the end of Dec. to this week, CCPH says that it has distributed 3520 total doses, while HRRMC reported to CCPH that it has distributed 2,797 doses to a total of 2,355 patients.
For a small county of 20,000 people, Chaffee County is doing better than most counties. This weekend a county vaccine clinic has been set up in northern Chaffee at the Sangre de Cristo Electric parking lot, and Buena Vista Pharmacy has set up one specifically for its customers on Saturday afternoon.
Today, Feb. 12, the county will coordinate vaccination of the staff of both the county’s school districts at a mass vaccination at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds. Buena Vista School District changed its schedule, canceling classes for this afternoon, so its staff could get to the fairgrounds for the vaccine clinic.
To register for a vaccine slot in Chaffee County as vaccination clinics are set up by CCPH inside Chaffee County, follow this link: https://chaffeecounty.rsvpify.com/. Those who have used it say that the county’s registry (which the county built itself, not waiting for the state to reach that point, is a smooth and easy-to-understand process.
For Ark Valley Voice readers throughout the region and the country, we’ve just been informed of a new source for information about where vaccines are available. Planyourvaccine.com is a new source created by affiliates of NBC. It provides state by state, and region by region information about vaccination sites and where the vaccines are available.
Visit the site and you can sign up for alerts for you, your parents, etc. — that will tell you where the vaccines are available in your area. Information is available in English and Spanish.