Garfield County health officials planning for next COVID-19 vaccine phase |

Garfield County health officials planning for next COVID-19 vaccine phase

Off-site vaccination clinics being planned for springtime

Garfield County Public Health plans to establish additional COVID-19 vaccination clinic sites in the coming weeks as the vaccine becomes available to more people.

The state of Colorado anticipates opening the next phase of vaccine distribution, known as 1B.3, in mid-March.

That phase is to include frontline workers in the food service and grocery sectors, public transit, agriculture, direct care providers, human services and other occupations deemed “essential.”

It also makes the vaccine available to anyone ages 16-64 with a qualifying high-risk chronic condition.

That will greatly increase the number of people within the general population who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

To prepare, Garfield County Public Health is planning to have more COVID-19 vaccine clinics starting at the same time, Public Health Specialist Carrie Godes said.

Currently, vaccines in Garfield County are only administered at Valley View and Grand River hospitals, at Mountain Family Health Center clinics in Glenwood Springs and Rifle and, on a very limited basis, pre-arranged site and home visits conducted by Public Health.

Off-site clinic locations have already been secured in both Glenwood Springs and Rifle, Godes said. Depending on the weather and other factors, additional outdoor clinic locations could also be established.

“The clinic location will be determined by the number of vaccines received,” she said.

“Weekly allocations of 400 doses or less would be distributed at the Glenwood and Rifle Public Health offices,” she explained. “Larger allocations of vaccine would necessitate off-site locations that could accommodate additional people.”

Once the state does move to phase 1B.3, people ages 16 and over with two or more of the chronic conditions listed on the state’s distribution chart will be able to work through their primary care provider or one of the Public Health clinics to receive their vaccine.

“For those that fall into the next category of frontline essential workers, Public Health is working on a plan for reaching out to employers to ensure that workers in the listed categories are able to access vaccine,” Godes said.

More information and details will be coming as Public Health anticipates further guidance from the state, she said.

Some private pharmacies are also now scheduling vaccines for those age 65 and up, including City Market stores in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and New Castle, Garfield County Public Health Director Yvonne Long said last week.

For now, the county’s vaccine distributions continue to focus on those in the Phase 1A (age 70+ and healthcare and long-term care workers) and 1B.1 and 2 (ages 65-69 and preK-12 educators).

Last week, more than 1,500 second dose vaccine appointments in Garfield County had to be postponed due weather-related shipment delays. Those appointments were to be rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week.

As of Tuesday, 14,730 vaccines had been administered in Garfield County, including:

• 10,101 first doses

• 4,629 second doses

• 6,803 Phase 1A and 1B.1

• 3,815 to those age 70 and older (approximately 84%)

• 1,159 to those ages 65-69

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