Coloradans reflect on COVID vaccine year after 1st doses were administered

Coronavirus

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Dr. Alan Hathcock remembers getting the COVID-19 vaccine like it was yesterday.

“We had just come off of, I guess at that point in time it was roughly eight months, maybe nine months of the pandemic without any sort of vaccine,” Hathcock said. “So, I think in some ways it kind of felt like we had the golden ticket finally, to get into the chocolate factory. So it was exciting.”

Colorado has made progress with immunizations. More than 76% of eligible Coloradans have gotten at least one dose.

Hathcock, a hospitalist at UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital, said he did not imagine what was coming next in the pandemic.

“It’s something I think at the time, a year ago, we didn’t anticipate as much, that there would be as much kind of community resistance at times,” Hathcock said.

He said hospitals across the state are still seeing high numbers of patients, state data shows 84% of hospitalized COVID patients are not vaccinated.

“Obviously, Colorado has very high vaccination rates which is very helpful, but one thing we’ve really learned with the delta strand, which is what we’re dealing with the majority right now, is that it really is a very effective virus at finding the unvaccinated population. It has done that and you know, it makes people so, so sick,” Hathcock said.

In a recent Colorado Public Radio interview, Gov. Jared Polis said “the medical emergency” part of the pandemic is over, but frontline workers like Hathcock have a different view of the pandemic.

“From my perspective, we’re preparing for the worst. I hope that Gov. Polis is right, I hope that we will be nearing days that may be better from that standpoint, or just may have less covid volumes in their hospitals. Today, we are still pretty heavy with COVID,” Hathcock said.

After seeing the damage the delta variant has done in the state and across the nation, Hathcock says he is gearing up for the winter ahead and the possible spread of omicron.

He continues to urge everyone to get vaccinated.

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