By Randi Pierce
As of Tuesday, Archuleta County had vaccinated close to one-third of its 65-and-older population, according to San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH).
SJBPH Director of Communications Claire Ninde reported to The SUN that 1,185 first doses have been provided to the 65-and-older population, clarifying that the state reports data for 65 and older instead of 70 and older.
Those 70 and older are currently eligible for the vaccine.
Ninde called the vaccine distribution a “Herculean task” in acknowledging the community partners — Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC), Pagosa Medical Group (PMG) and City Market — who are working to provide vaccines.
“Providing the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone who wants it is an enormous task and requires the development and building of infrastructure and partnerships, with all of us working as fast as we can and so acknowledge partners who play an important role to address this Herculean task,” she wrote.
SJBPH is also continuing to stress that there is a very limited supply of vaccine doses.
“While vaccine supply is still extremely limited, we are working directly with community partners to prioritize vaccine availability among our communities most disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic,” SJBPH Executive Director Liane Jollon said. “We know the sooner people can get the vaccine, the sooner we can reduce hospitalizations and deaths. In the meantime, we cannot let our guard down.”
Currently, the supply of COVID-19 vaccine is very limited, with SJBPH reporting the state of Colorado is receiving approximately 70,000 doses of vaccine each week for a population of 5.8 million residents.
“The vaccine distribution issues resulting in limited quantities in the Southwest Colorado region are being experienced by local public health agencies both nationwide and statewide,” a press release from the organization states.
I’m 70 or older. How do I get the vaccine?
Archuleta County has three enrolled vaccine providers: Pagosa Springs Medical Center, Pagosa Medical Group and City Market.
PSMC and PMG are taking information for community members 70 and older who would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
For more information on vaccines through City Market, visit https://www.citymarket.com/i/coronavirus-update/vaccine.
To make a reservation with PSMC, persons over 70 who live in Archuleta County should visit https://pagosaspringsmedicalcenter.org/vaccine to complete and submit registration forms.
The following information was provided by PSMC.
Once the forms are received by PSMC, PSMC will add the eligible person to a master reservation list and thereafter PSMC will email that person an appointment time as doses become available.
Those who are unable to access the form online can call PSMC’s vaccine line at 507-3995 and leave a message with six pieces of information:
• Full name.
• Date of birth.
• County of residence.
• Phone number.
• Email address.
• Which group applies to you.
PSMC will call those on its list to set up vaccine appointments.
People scheduled for vaccination must arrive for their appointment on time. Everyone arriving will be screened for temperature and COVID-19 symptoms, will need to sign a consent, receive a vaccination and be observed for a period of time post-vaccination. The entire process typically takes 30 minutes.
PMG will reach out to its patients through phone calls, emails and portal messages to see if they would like the vaccine if they haven’t been able to get it yet.
Anyone wishing to schedule with PMG can text 372-0456.
I’m in another group. When will it be my turn?
Vaccine doses continues to be limited, and the state has indicated those 70 and older will be vaccinated before distribution moves on to other Phase 1 populations.
The next groups designated in Phase 1 include frontline essential workers in education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, the U.S. Postal Service, grocery, human services, state government and others.
Phase 2, which is expected to begin in the spring, includes people aged 60-69, people 16-59 with certain health risk factors, and other essential workers.
Phase 3 is expected to begin in the summer and will include members for the general public aged 16-59.
To help collect information for those administering the vaccine as it becomes available, SJBPH has launched a form — available at https://bit.ly/35dzCLw (English) or http://bit.ly/2LvUI0v (Spanish) or through SJBPH’s vaccine page, https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/ — for interested individuals to share their contact details to receive notifications when a vaccine becomes available for the phase they qualify for.
SJBPH explained that information provided to SJBPH will only be used to generate notifications of COVID-19 vaccine appointment availability. Email updates will likely come from a range of sources other than SJBPH.
About the vaccines
So far, two COVID-19 vaccines, created by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. Both vaccines require two doses, and after the second dose, are around 95 percent effective in protecting against COVID-19, a press release from PSMC explains.