DENVER (KDVR) – Colorado residents are heading to Texas to get vaccinated. The City of Amarillo said it will not turn people away due to out-of-state residency.
Amarillo is a 6.5-hour drive from Denver. Those from the Centennial State are discovering fewer restrictions in the Lone Star State.
A lack of residency requirement is not the only benefit. Amarillo is also not requiring appointments. Doses are available on a first come, first served basis. In early February, Victoria Murphy from New Mexico made the trip to Amarillo after learning she wouldn’t be eligible in her home state until mid-March.
“Our nurse was just incredible,” Murphy said. “She had told us she had probably vaccinated about 25 people the day before from Santa Fe … and that she was getting people from Denver, from Dallas.”
Anyone over 65 and any adult with certain pre-existing conditions qualify in Amarillo, according to the local health department website.
Officials in the Texas Panhandle are using the honor system. With no appointments required, the Texas way is less complicated and attractive to those in Colorado who are still on hospital system wait lists.
“We’ve had a lot of travelers,” said Texas restaurant worker Debbi Hopkins. “Really just in the last few days.”
Hopkins works at a restaurant in the small community of Texline, Texas– located just across the state line from New Mexico and on the route from Denver to Amarillo.
“I’ve noticed that it’s a lot more adults than it is younger people … a lot more older people,” she said.
Hopkins estimates business is up 20 percent due to the vaccine tourism rush.
Kansas previously experienced state-line crossers from Colorado. Health officials in western Kansas said updated guidance from the state is now preventing distribution to those who don’t live in the state.
Potential statistics collected on out-of-state vaccination patients in Amarillo were not readily available.