Covid-19 Vaccination Updatesby Whitney Kennedy on 01/15/21
Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Update
I know that many of you have many questions about the Covid-19 vaccine distribution. The information changes daily and I would like to help you stay up-to-date on where we are in the vaccination phases and how to get one when your group is called.
The CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) has made a website to help keep you informed. This can be found at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
You can find the phases of vaccine distribution at this website.
As of today January 15, 2021 we have completed Phase 1A. As many of you have heard, Dec 30, 2020 Governor Polis moved the state to Phase 1B which includes ages 70+ while we were finishing up 1A. Their goal has been to open the next phase once approximately 50% of the patients in the current phase have been completed.
Many of our patients aged 70+ have been very frustrated because there hasn’t been a clear path as to how to get the vaccine. We have been equally as frustrated trying to get our 70+ patients signed up for vaccinations. Governor Polis speaks for the entire state. Certain counties vaccinated faster than others and he opened Phase 1B so that those counties didn’t have to slow down their rate of vaccination. Denver however was not ready to move to Phase 1B when it was opened. The availability of vaccines for patients aged 70+ in the Denver Metro area have been few and far between to say the least.
In Governor Polis’ press conference today, January 15th, he was able to give us a little more data and explanation behind how things are working.
As of today:
· 64,500 or 85% of healthcare workers have received their first dose of vaccine
· 48,000 have received their second dose
· 40,000 of the 530,000 patients in Colorado who are 70 and older have received their first dose
o Those 2 groups equal 152,500 doses
o Colorado has been distributed 300,000 doses total- as of today 242,495 have been given
o The other 147,500 doses have been given to skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities, first responders and essential workers.
· 203 of Colorado’s 209 Skilled Nursing Facilities, patients and staff have received their 1st dose
As of January 16th, priority goes to all patients in Colorado aged 70+
Colorado’s goal is to have 70% of patients 70 years and up vaccinated by the end of February
Colorado has one of the highest rates of vaccinations in the country
There was a big setback today. The federal government has been promising to deliver 250,000 doses to Colorado to go toward 2nd doses from the National Stockpile this week. All of the Governors were informed by the current administration today that there is no National Stockpile of Covid-19 vaccinations.
Currently, Colorado gets about 77,000 doses a week. With the expected 250,00 doses we expected this week, Colorado could have vaccinated almost half of the 530,000 patients aged 70 and up in Colorado immediately. Starting February the anticipated weekly delivery is expected to increase to 90,000-100,000 doses a week. However, Colorado’s goal for this patient population has not changed. We would like to see 70% of patients 70 and up vaccinated at least with one dose by the end of February.
So how are these distributed?
Community Health Centers 20%
Health Partners 20% (skilled nursing facilities, long term care)
None are being distributed to local clinics, likely due to the need for research level freezers.
How can you get a vaccination in the Denver Metro area?
· We are being told that the best chance for patients aged 70 and up to get the vaccination is through a hospital system.
· If you have ever been to a hospital in Colorado in the recent past, you likely have a patient portal account.
· If you haven’t then you may sign up for an account by following the links at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
· There may be random opportunities at pharmacies but since they only get 1 week’s warning as to how many they are getting, the scheduling is tough
· The hospitals are randomly reaching out to all of their patients aged 70+ with portal accounts to get scheduled starting now
· This will take some time, based on the current flow of vaccines
Things that may change this timeline for the better:
· The Biden administration has an aggressive vaccine roll-out plan to deliver 100 million vaccines within the first 100 days of his presidency. This would allow for one-third of Coloradoans to be vaccinated in the first 100 days.
· Another vaccine like the one from Johnson & Johnson may be approved soon - this is a one dose vaccine and can be stored at normal fridge/freezer temperatures (clinics will have a better chance at getting these to vaccinate their own patients) Highlands Health for Life has applied 3 times already.
An important thing that we do not know:
Once fully vaccinated, can immune people continue to transfer the virus to non-immune persons?
· The answer to this is not known……….yet.
· Unfortunately, that means that we will not be able to drop all of our precautions once we get vaccinated.
· That means if you are vaccinated, you would not likely get infected but may be able to infect others who are not vaccinated.
Overall, whether you get vaccinated now or in several months our general precautions will not change much.
I will continue to try to update the blog on our new website at www.highlandshealthforlife.com
In the meantime, keep your eyes, ears and email open for local vaccination opportunities.
Whitney Kennedy, MD