Celebrating one year of COVID-19 vaccines in El Paso County

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Courtesy of El Paso County Health Department.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — It’s been one year ago today since COVID-19 vaccine doses were first administered to health care workers from UCHealth at the UCHealth Memorial Administrative Center.

Courtesy of El Paso County Health Department.

Now, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, the El Paso County and Colorado Springs Vaccine Consortium and federal partners have administered nearly one million doses of the vaccine to El Paso County residents.   

Over 463,000 vaccine-eligible residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 416,000 are fully vaccinated, out of an eligible population of 679,000 residents among the 730,000 total residents in El Paso County.  

Susan Wheelan, director of El Paso County Public Health, said, “Our El Paso County and Colorado Springs Vaccine Consortium, with partners across health care, hospitals, military, Veterans Affairs, El Paso County Commissioners Stan VanderWerf, Cami Bremer, and Longinos Gonzalez, Jr., and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers have come together to quickly expand the infrastructure needed to serve a community our size. I also want to thank my local public health team, health care workers and numerous partners for their herculean efforts to increase access to the vaccine throughout El Paso County communities.”   

“Of my 25 years in health care, never will I forget Dec. 14, 2020 – a day that was truly a highlight in my nursing career,” said Tamera Dunseth Rosenbaum, chief nursing officer of UCHealth Memorial Hospital, recalling the day she administered the first COVID-19 vaccine given in southern Colorado. “I am so proud of how so many people at UCHealth stepped up and made history that day by getting the vaccine. It was a significant moment for our teams.”  

As of Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, consortium providers and federal agencies have administered more than 985,300 doses since the beginning of the vaccine rollout.

A snapshot of these efforts includes the following:   

  • Vaccines brought to homebound individuals through Operation House Call  
  • The launch of mobile efforts with Nomi Health in April and El Paso County Public Health’s own mobile outreach van in September, meeting people where they are and offering convenient access at community events, workplaces, churches and schools  
  • Drive-thru mass vaccination sites, first at the Broadmoor World Arena and currently at Chapel Hills Mall and Citadel Mall  
  • Equity clinics, in partnership with organizations to bring vaccines into local communities  
  • Hosting frequent clinics at the new El Paso County Public Health South location in Fountain  
  • Leveraging the existing health care infrastructure at hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and doctors’ offices  
  • El Paso County Public Health worked with partners to reduce barriers and increase easy access through: 
    • Phone helpline through Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1  
    • Free transportation to and from vaccine appointments through Envida, Silver Key Senior Services and Lyft  
    • Weekend and evening clinics to accommodate work and school schedules  
    • Language support for Spanish and American Sign Language

Vaccine data through Monday, Dec. 13, including federal estimates:  

  • Total doses administered: 985,300  
  • People vaccinated: 463,300 (69.2% of eligible population)  
  • People fully vaccinated: 416,400 (62.2% of eligible population)  

To access the latest vaccine numbers for El Paso County, view the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.  

A look back at a snapshot of local vaccine milestones:  

  • DEC. 14, 2020: Colorado receives its first shipment of vaccine and implements its phased distribution plan beginning with Phase 1A. The first El Paso County resident to receive the vaccine, a nurse at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, was vaccinated on Dec. 14.  
  • DEC. 31, 2020: El Paso County surpasses 10,000 people vaccinated.  
  • FEB. 3, 2021: Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline begins serving as a centralized phone number to help direct community members to COVID-19 vaccine providers.  
  • FEB. 19, 2021: El Paso County Public Health partners with Servicios de la Raza and the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce to offer a free pop-up vaccine equity clinic at the EPCPH South location.   
  • MARCH 16, 2021: 70 percent of El Paso County residents aged 70 and older are vaccinated.  
  • APRIL 2, 2021: Every Coloradan aged 16 or older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  
  • APRIL 11, 2021: One-third of eligible El Paso County residents has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  
  • MAY 10, 2021: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expands emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine for adolescents 12-15.  
  • JUNE 14, 2021: 50 percent of eligible El Paso County residents are fully vaccinated.  
  • AUG. 23, 2021:  The FDA grants full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 16-plus.    
  • SEPT. 18, 2021: El Paso County Public Health launches its mobile outreach van to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines, immunizations, and other services across the county.  
  • NOV. 2, 2021: CDC authorizes Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11. 

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