List: Colorado healthcare facilities getting the first COVID vaccines

Coronavirus
A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado’s state health department has released a list of healthcare facilities that will receive the first shipments of coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

(Note: “Memorial Hospital” on this list refers to Montrose Memorial Hospital on the western slope.)

Once these facilities get the vaccine, they will distribute it to frontline healthcare workers, according to the phased timeline the state published earlier this week.

How were the locations chosen?

CDPHE said they identified locations across the state with ultra-low temperature freezers to receive the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. These locations were chosen for their unique abilities to store, monitor, and handle vaccines in ultra-cold temperatures (-60°C to -80°C), as well as their willingness to redistribute vaccine to other providers in their regions.

The state said they also considered equitable geographic distribution, as well as transportation logistics given winter travel conditions.

To be as equitable as possible, the state also purchased 10 ultra-cold storage units. CDPHE has distributed eight of these and the remaining two will be distributed Friday. 

The Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, allowing it to be distributed even further, especially to rural areas. 

The state determined the number of doses going to each location by surveying facilities’ needs for phase 1 of distribution.

Many of the doses allocated to local public health agencies will be administered to health care workers at nearby hospitals that do not have the capability to store vaccine.

How much vaccine will be available?

The state health department said the first shipment will be 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The second shipment will be 95,600 of the Moderna vaccine. After that, the state expects to receive vaccine allocations from the federal government on a weekly basis.

VA hospitals also getting vaccine

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday that the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System was selected as one of 37 VA sites nationwide to receive initial doses of the vaccine.

The system includes southern Colorado facilities in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Alamosa, and La Junta. It also includes several facilities in the Denver metro area.

The VA will administer the initial doses of the vaccine to health care personnel and high-risk veterans in accordance with CDC guidance.

The initial limited-supply phase will be followed by a general implementation phase, with large supplies of the vaccine available to veterans who want to receive it.

“We are excited to be one of the first VAs to receive the vaccine and are honored to be able to provide this service to our most vulnerable Veterans and employees,” VA ECHCS Director Michael Kilmer said in a statement. “Our ultimate goal is to offer the vaccine to all Veterans and employees who choose to be vaccinated. It is the hope of so many, that this vaccine coupled with masking, physical distancing and frequent handwashing will help flatten the COVID-19 curve. We are hopeful to be a part of the solution.”

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