COVID-19 vaccinations to be administered to Garfield County frontline medical workers Thursday
More than 1,800 COVID-19 vaccinations should soon reach Garfield County hospitals, according to the public health office.
“We are so ecstatic to be able to have this resource, even though it’s going to be slow,” Garfield County Public Health Specialist Carrie Godes said on Tuesday. “We wish we had more of the vaccine right now to be able to push out to the community, but we’re very happy to be able to bring this out to the community.”
Based on figures provided by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Valley View Hospital association in Glenwood Springs is slated to receive 215 initial vaccinations from Pfizer Inc. and another 1,000 initial vaccinations from Moderna, Inc.
Valley View Chief Communications officer Stacey Gavrell said the hospital has yet to receive the vaccinations but that they’re hoping to receive “exciting news” by the end of this week.
“I think we are just waiting to see when the vaccine arrives,” she said. “Certainly, we’ll work quickly from that actual point.”
Grand River Health in Rifle is also slated to receive an initial 600 vaccinations from Moderna.
At least 70 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered to frontline medical workers at Grand River Health in Rifle on Thursday, said Grand River Health Community Relations Director Annick Pruett. She said the doses will be administered in two courses.
“It’s a process because we have to distribute them within 72 hours,” Pruett said.
As far as who gets what when, each hospital is following guidelines put in place by the state. According to those guidelines, the CDPHE has identified locations across the state with ultra-low temperature freezers to receive the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.
Distribution of the Moderna vaccine will then follow.
“To be as fair and efficient with distribution as possible, the state has developed a phased approach to vaccine distribution to save lives and end the crisis that has been brought on by the pandemic as quickly as possible,” according to a Dec. 11 news release. “The federal government is determining the allocation amount by the size of every state’s total population and the quantity of ready-to-ship doses from the manufacturer(s).”
The first shipment will be 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the release states. The second shipment will be 95,600 of the Moderna vaccine slated for next week.
“This is great news for our health care workers and those at highest risk in our state & the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a Dec. 14 news release. “This vaccine is an amazing scientific triumph for humanity and the distribution which starts today is a historic undertaking. We still have a ways to go and Coloradans should double down now and continue to do what we know works in the fight against this virus and that’s wearing masks, physically distancing, and avoiding personal gatherings.”
After frontline medical workers are vaccinated, Godes said local nursing home and senior living center residents will then take priority.
“Right now, it is just for these very limited populations,” she said. “And those populations have already been identified and are being prioritized.”
She also said that it won’t be until well into 2021 that every Garfield County resident who wants the vaccine will receive it.
“We’re thinking summer is the time that most people will be able to get a vaccine,” she said. “We still have a while, but at least we’re moving in the right direction.”
Godes also promoted the efficacy of the vaccinations.
“The efficacy rate looks pretty fantastic,” she said. “I think it’s going to be important to stress right away that nothing changes, though, for people as far as masks and social distancing, and we will keep updating people when we can when those other precautions go away.”
In other words, until the entire county is vaccinated and COVID-19 is truly backed into a corner, residents will still need to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
For Valley View, which is still seeing historic highs for patient capacity, Gavrell agreed that the vaccinations will help alleviate in-patient visits.
“Not only Valley View but our entire community and indeed the entire nation and world,” she said. “This has been really an intensive year, and for those on the front lines, to be able to give them a vaccine to help reduce their risk is pretty monumental.”
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There are a few extra stories being shared around the tables at the Village Smithy restaurant in Carbondale this week following the death of restaurant founder and longtime community leader Chris Chacos.