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Valley View Hospital to continue with COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Glenwood Springs

Garfield Public Health also stepping up weekly vaccination efforts; Grand River proceeds

Valley View Hospital Director of Family Birth Place Michelle Zywiec administers a COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination clinic at the hospital in February.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs plans to continue as a host site for large COVID-19 vaccine clinics as the number of people eligible to receive a vaccine has greatly expanded.

“We had been working for weeks to transition vaccines from the hospital to community entities, creating a long-term sustainable approach for vaccinations,” Josh Anderson, incident commander for Valley View’s vaccination efforts, said in a Monday news release.

As that transition began, however, the county moved to a lower tier regarding the number of vaccines that would be administered per capita, compared to other neighboring counties, he said.



“We at Valley View believe our community deserves to be in the first tier,” Anderson said. “With the general public now eligible for the vaccine there is greater demand in the community; now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal and slow down.”

Valley View had initially planned to move away from being a vaccine site, and to allow Garfield County Public Health and other entities take over with the mass clinics.



However, with an established process to administer vaccines to hundreds of people per hour, Valley View decided to stay in the game, Anderson said.

As a result, Garfield County is now expected to be able to administer vaccines at a greater rate again, VVH Community Relations Officer Stacey Gavrell said Tuesday in follow-up to the hospital’s decision.

“As we were transitioning away from our large hospital clinics, Garfield County dropped in the ranking, meaning that we were administering fewer vaccines per 100,000 people than other counties,” Gavrell said. “After our large vaccine clinics last week, we are back. This underscores the impact of our hospital-based clinics on the county’s overall vaccination rate.”

As of Tuesday, April 6 in Garfield County, 54,542 vaccines have been administered per 100,000 people.

That doesn’t mean Garfield County Public Health won’t be providing larger-scale vaccine clinics. In fact, the county health organization is stepping up its efforts this week with site-based clinics on a reservation basis at public health offices in Glenwood Springs on Wednesday and Thursday, and in Rifle on Friday, GCPH spokesperson Carrie Godes said.

“We received 1,000 doses for the week, which is the biggest weekly allocation we have gotten,” Godes said. Other providers have also received larger allocations as the vaccine opened up to anyone age 16 an up, as of Friday.

“Our goal is to have as many providers vaccinating people as possible,” she said.

Grand River Health in Rifle also has no intentions of halting its weekly vaccination clinics any time soon.

“We have not stopped and won’t until the demand in the community wanes,” Grand River Community Relations Director Annick Pruett said. “Getting the community vaccinated is a top priority for our Board of Directors and leadership.

“We have had some issues getting all of our shipments of new vaccine the last two weeks,” she added. “But we continue to vaccinate every Friday.”

With Garfield County moving back to the higher-risk level yellow on the state’s COVID-19 dial last week based on the recent upward trend in new cases, there is a concern about disease prevalence in the community, Valley View said in its press release.

Valley View continues to be one of the highest-capacity vaccination clinics locally.

To date, according to the Colorado Immunization Information System, 32,577 vaccine doses have been administered to Garfield County residents.

Of those, Valley View Hospital has administered 15,343, or nearly half of those vaccinations, while Garfield County Public Health has delivered 1,097, or 3.3%, of the vaccines, according to the latest state data.

Valley View has also served neighboring communities with an additional approximate 5,000 doses administered, the hospital noted in its Monday release.

“It truly has been a remarkable undertaking,” Valley View CEO Dr. Brian Murphy said in the release.

“The decision to continue to host the hospital clinics reflects the incredible dedication of our team to support the health and well-being of our entire community.”

Valley View plans to host one, first-dose vaccine clinic every week at the hospital, dependent on vaccine availability, with follow-up second-dose appointments, the release said.

“With the vaccine now open to all those 16 years and older, we expect demand to increase,” Gavrell said. “We want to protect people’s health and enable our businesses, schools and community to return to a sense of normalcy.”

Appointments will be announced at http://www.vvh.org and on the Valley View Facebook page. “Given the process to receive vaccines, these announcements will likely be on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Vaccines will continue to be administered at no charge.”

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindpendent.com


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