DENVER (KDVR) — A new group of patients eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado started receiving their shots this week, after Gov. Jared Polis announced the start of phase 1B Wednesday.
Colorado is currently in both phases 1A and 1B, meaning moderate-risk health care workers, first responders and people age 70 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine. But many who qualify are still waiting for answers on how to go about getting vaccinated.
At 78-years-old, Elaine Hatcher is high-risk and has put most social aspects of her life on hold during the pandemic. Hatcher says she called several pharmacies and her doctor after the governor’s announcement but wasn’t able to get information on how or when she could get vaccinated.
“I was really surprised because I heard I could get it but apparently nobody knows and nobody has it,” said Hatcher.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment estimates a majority of phase 1A will be completed by Jan. 15. More information on phase 1B is expected to come out in the coming days, including which locations will administer the vaccine.
Summit County opened appointments to people age 70 and up and started hosting drive-through clinics this week. UCHealth is also booking appointments for patients in their database using an online portal.
“It gives them information on the locations, times that they can potentially come and it’s still by appointment only. People should not be showing up hoping that they’ll get a vaccine,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, Medical Director of Infection Prevention with UCHealth.
Barron says for now, the focus is on the first half of phase 1B. UCHealth is using a lottery system to determine which patients receive an appointment invite first.
“They’re randomly assigned numbers and if their number comes up then they get the invitation to have the opportunity to get the vaccine. If for some reason they aren’t able to do it this time, they go back in the pool,” she said.
Barron says they are only reaching out to UCHealth patients at this time but are working with the state to reach more people.
“Obviously, our goal is for the whole community and not just our patients. We don’t have all of that quite figured out yet. Some of that is how the vaccine is flowing and how we’re allowed to get vaccine based on what information we had for our patient population,” Barron said.