PUEBLO, Colo. — Pueblo County’s first public COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people ages 70 and up reached its quota an hour before opening on Monday. The health department said at 8 a.m. that the clinic at the Pueblo Mall had met its quota with the current number of people in line.
Now, the county is making some changes to help cut down on crowds. Pueblo County residents over the age of 70 are now asked to register at pueblovaxnow.com or call 719-583-4444 and press option 1.
Since Monday, over 3,200 individuals over the age of 70 years old were vaccinated.
After four days of successfully vaccinating individuals ages 70 and older for COVID-19, everyone is at a standstill while Pueblo County waits to receive additional vaccine from the state of Colorado, no sooner than early next week.
“While we are frustrated, we ask that everyone have patience recognizing we are waiting for more vaccine to arrive,” stated Randy Evetts, Public Health Director at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. Evetts added, “We are pleased at what Pueblo has accomplished this week with the vaccine Pueblo received. This is a great example of Pueblo coming together for the community with the help of many partners.”
Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor celebrated the milestone but also acknowledged the frustration with the delivery system, “We have our mass vaccination process down pat, when you hit a stride and are forced into a full stop, it is discouraging but we have been in communication with the state several times a day and have high hopes for next week.”
Fortunately for many seniors, Pueblo’s free drive-thru clinic isn’t the only option for them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There are providers in the community offering vaccine to those ages 70 years of age and older including Kaiser and Centura, please contact your primary care provider for details.
Pueblo Department of Health and Environment confirmed the highest number of doses to date in Pueblo County was available Thursday. Workers at the Pueblo Mall Clinic expect to vaccinate a record 1,000 residents aged 70-and-older.
The clinic, which has been averaging about 700 vaccination daily since it opened Monday, received a
huge boost in additional vaccines provided by Parkview Medical Center.
“Parkview understands firsthand the critical need we have in getting our 70-plus residents vaccinated in a timely manner,” Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said. “We appreciate their willingness to help us move forward to get this segment of our population vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
“I can’t say enough about our partners here in Pueblo who continue to rise up and help us respond to this pandemic. We are receiving vaccine, staff, and other types of support from different organizations nearly every day,” PDPHE Director Randy Evetts said.
As of January 12, 7,142 people in Pueblo County have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Starting Tuesday, those who register will be called to come to the clinic. An automated call is going out to those who signed up in the quantity of vaccine that is known to be onsite when a clinic will occur. In the recording it states: Press 1 for AM, Press 2 for PM. The time slots are AM or PM with specific time slots given.
Health care workers administered 655 doses, and the clinic was closed by 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
“I’m proud of the work done overnight by the Joint Emergency Operations Center and other personnel. In less than 24 hours, the team was able to address the issues we saw on Monday when demand outstripped the supply of the vaccine,” said Mayor Nick Gradisar. “This is one of the largest mobilization efforts ever imagined in Pueblo so when problems arise, this proves we can solve quickly. However, I’m calling on our Federal Government to get more of the vaccine into Pueblo. We’re ready to vaccinate more Puebloans but we need more doses.”
Christina Esquivel got in line to get a vaccine around 10:40 Tuesday morning.
The Pueblo Department of Health and Environment was working diligently with the state to ensure there was an adequate number of doses to both vaccinate the second group of seniors and hold another clinic on Wednesday. At the Sheriff’s Office, nearly a dozen call-takers worked non-stop, answering over 1200 phone calls all before noon. The Emergency Operations Center staff continued to focus on new case trends and first response agency needs and public information staff recorded calls ready to go out to the public once a Wednesday Clinic was confirmed.
On Tuesday, there were less cars waiting to get vaccines than on Monday.
“Our whole community is like this, that is why it works here in Pueblo,” said Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor, “We take what we learn and apply it to make a difference, if you know how to fix something, why wait? There isn’t anyone who would say this wasn’t 100 times better than yesterday. And we are working on improving the process even more for those folks that move through the clinic tomorrow.”
“We are ready to handle bigger numbers. At this point, half of our 23,000 seniors over age 70 have said they are ready to get their vaccination. As quickly as the doses arrive at our building, we are scheduling clinics to put them in people’s arms, that is how we are going to get through this,” PDPHE Director Evetts said the biggest challenge now is the delivery system because every future clinic is dependent upon vaccine delivery. “I can tell you today, that there is enough vaccine for tomorrow, but Thursday and Friday are tentative, until we get additional doses to administer.”
Steven Wiseman said they got in line around 10:30 but the line moved quickly.
Also on Tuesday, the CDC announced vaccination of 65+, yet Pueblo is following Colorado’s guidelines and currently vaccinating ages 70+. When ages 70+ have all been offered the vaccine Pueblo County will move to the next phase. Please stay tuned to covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine for updates on the vaccine phases.
The Pueblo Unified COVID Vaccination Clinic at the Pueblo Mall will operate tomorrow from 9a-2p. Pre-registration is required, to add their name to the COVID notification list, Citizen’s 70+ can visit pueblovaxnow.com or dial 719-583-4444 and press #1.
On Monday, vaccinations began at 9 a.m. Over 700 vaccines were administered throughout the day. One recipient who got the vaccine around noon told FOX21 they had been waiting in line since 6:30 a.m.
After receiving the vaccine, recipients are directed to a parking lot to be monitored for 15 minutes. Paramedics are on hand to respond to any medical issues.
Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia, a practicing paramedic who received the vaccine last month, helped direct traffic at the clinic.
Monday’s clinic distributed the first dose of the two-dose Moderna vaccine.
The clinic was only for Pueblo County residents over age 70. A photo ID with a birthdate was required.
Individuals who have received a vaccination in the previous 14 days or are currently experiencing a fever are not eligible for the vaccine, and will have to return at a later vaccine opportunity.
More clinics will be scheduled when more doses of the vaccine are delivered. The clinics are dependent on the amount of COVID-19 vaccine the health department receives each week from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The vaccine is not delivered daily to Pueblo County, according to Pueblo Public Health.
Southern Colorado healthcare providers, such as UCHealth and Centura, are also giving residents 70+ the opportunity to sign up for vaccine notifications.