Patience asked of residents as Garfield County high-risk healthcare workers, elderly continue to receive vaccinations

A handful of Covid 19 vaccines wait to be distributed to healthcare workers at Grand River Health.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

As Colorado continues to be one of the leading states in the nation in providing COVID-19 vaccinations, Garfield County is still urging lesser-risk residents to remain patient even as people 70 and older can now schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.

“Colorado is about fourth in the country as far as the number of shots being given,” said Garfield County Public Health Specialist Carrie Godes. “At the local public health level, we’re trying to be efficient, and when the vaccine comes in, we’re trying to get it out — like ASAP.”

So far, people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations can either fall under “1A” or “1B” phases. People classified in those categories include high- and moderate-risk frontline medical workers and first responders, as well as people like pharmacists, dentists and various frontline essential workers.

1A includes highest-risk healthcare workers and individuals:

• People who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or mover over a 24-hour period.

• Long-term facility staff and residents.

1B includes Coloradans age 70-plus, moderate-risk healthcare workers, first responders, frontline essential workers and continuity of state government:

• Healthcare workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients.

• Firefighters, police, COVID-19 response personnel, correctional workers and funeral services workers.

• Frontline workers in education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, U.S. Postal Service, public transit and specialized transportation staff, grocery and public health, direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness.

• Executive officials from executive, legislation and judicial branches of state government

• Essential frontline journalists.

Gov. Jared Polis announced during a Wednesday press conference that the state has already administered more than 84,000 vaccinations.

“We are very proud of that,” Polis said. “We want to build that lead. We want to be No. 1.” He also said by late spring and early summer 2021, the risk of contracting COVID-19 among Colorado residents will be “significantly lower.”

Polis said the state has also started vaccinating residents and staff at long-term-care facilities like nursing homes — places that have seen significantly higher hospitalizations and death.

In addition, the governor’s office also announced that all Colorado residents 70 or older now also legally fall under the 1B category.

“Over 78% of covid deaths in our state are people aged 70 and older,” Polis said. “It’s likely 4-5 weeks before everyone over 70 gets the dose.

“Everything’s dependent on what we get from the federal government,” Polis later added.

What individuals 70 or older need to know:

• To make an appointment at Valley View Hospital call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at 970-384-7632. To make an appointment at Grand River Health call 970-625-1100.

• Vaccine scheduling hotlines are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Individuals must be a resident of Garfield County.

To date, Garfield County has received 215 Pfizer and 2,000 Moderna first-dose vaccines of a two-dose series.

Godes said that companies and entities that fall under 1A and 1B categories can visit the public health webpage at to begin the process of getting people vaccinated.

In addition, beginning Monday, individuals 70 or older can make appointments at Grand River Health in Rifle or Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs to receive vaccinations. Walk-ins are currently unavailable.

“We’re moving it as quickly as we can because when we have the vaccine, we want to give the shot as quickly as possible,” Godes said.

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