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Vaccines distribution expands Friday in Southwest Colorado

Health department says supplies may be limited, but people should sign up
On Friday, Colorado will expand vaccine eligibility to all Coloradans 16 and older, but San Juan Basin Public Health says a limited vaccine supply will affect when people will be able to get vaccinated.

Colorado residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for coronavirus vaccines starting Friday, but San Juan Basin Public Health says everything still depends on a limited vaccine supply.

With expanded eligibility, SJBPH expects an initial surge of people looking for appointments, but not everyone will be able to get vaccinated immediately. In the meantime, SJBPH will continue to prioritize different groups for vaccination and urges the public to follow public health precautions.

“Vaccination is the route to ending the pandemic,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director. “We will do everything we can to get more of our community vaccinated, however at this time, less than one-third of our community is fully protected. We must remain vigilant to slow the spread of the virus by practicing precautions like wearing a mask and getting tested.”

As of Sunday, 27% of La Plata County residents were fully vaccinated and 39% had received one dose of a two-part series.

In Archuleta County, 28% of residents were fully immunized and 38% had received one vaccine dose, according to SJBPH.

After Friday, SJBPH plans to continue prioritizing high-risk populations, older Coloradans and those working in front-line positions by doing targeted outreach. The public health department will continue to offer early access to general clinics when possible and to provide equity clinics.

SJBPH expects the vaccine supply will gradually increase, and when able, local providers will be able to expand their vaccination appointment and clinic offerings, said Brian Devine, SJBPH deputy incident commander for COVID-19.

SJBPH has a network of more than 20 vaccine providers and moves doses between providers to ensure no doses go to waste. It currently has the capacity to provide additional doses beyond weekly state and federal vaccination shipments, Devine said.

About 15.8% of people nationwide are fully vaccinated and about 17% of Coloradans are fully vaccinated.

Because Archuleta and La Plata counties are so far ahead of state and national averages, additional vaccine supply may be sent to other parts of the state, at least in the short term, Devine said.

SJBPH said first-dose appointments will continue to be offered each week by various providers in La Plata and Archuleta counties.

Some providers will work only with their existing patients before making appointments available to the general public.

Residents can find a vaccine appointment using the links on SJBPH’s website: https://sjbpublichealth.org/ or through other providers.

Anyone who cannot immediately register for a vaccine appointment should continue to check for availability on the SJBPH website or contact their medical provider.

“Please do not make multiple vaccine appointments at different providers,” Devine said. “Not showing up for an appointment because you already got vaccinated somewhere else makes the provider have to find someone else to receive that dose before it expires.”

People can sign up for notifications from multiple providers to get an appointment as quickly as possible, Devine said.


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