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Moderna vaccine arrives in La Plata County

Health care workers, long-term care staff members and residents prioritized for vaccinations

The second vaccine for COVID-19 arrived this week in Southwest Colorado.

San Juan Basin Public Health said the first shipment of the Moderna vaccine for the virus was delivered Tuesday.

Now, the plan is to administer the Moderna vaccines to health care workers on the front line, as laid out in the state of Colorado’s vaccine plan. Those workers should start receiving the vaccine this week.

“We are excited to continue this crucial process of getting vaccine out to our highest priority recipients in front-line health care positions with the Moderna vaccines received,” Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director, said in a statement.

According to Colorado’s vaccine plan, health care workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients, as well as long-term care facility staff members and residents, will be the first to receive the vaccine.

SJBPH said 1,400 Moderna vaccines arrived for a five-county Southwest Colorado region, but the department did say it will not be enough to vaccinate everyone included the Phase 1A category, the highest priority people for the vaccine.

Last week, Southwest Colorado received 975 Pfizer vaccines, also slated for front-line health care workers and long-term care facility staff members and residents.

SJBPH did not respond to an inquiry concerning how many people have been vaccinated in La Plata County to date.

But the health department has said vaccines will be limited for several months, which means the vaccine will be administered in phases and not be immediately available to everyone who wants one.

Once Phase 1A is complete, the vaccine will be directed toward health care workers who do not have prolonged direct contact with COVID-19 patients, but still work in direct patient care or as direct patient care support staff.

The next phase also includes emergency workers, such as EMS, firefighters, police, correctional workers, dispatchers, funeral services, other first responders and COVID-19 response personnel, according to the state’s plan.

“The phased approach to vaccine distribution was developed to be as equitable and efficient with distribution as possible, with the goal of saving lives by vaccinating people who are most likely to get COVID-19 first,” SJBPH said in a statement.

SJBPH said that in the meantime, it’s still important to follow best practices, such as social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding indoor gatherings with people from multiple households.

“SJBPH reminds everyone to continue to be vigilant as we wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to become more available,” the health department said.

jromeo@durangoherald.com

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