Travel nurses wonder where they fall in line for Colorado vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine
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DENVER (KDVR) – The FOX31 Problem Solvers are hearing concerns from Colorado front line nurses who travel to hard-hit cities and towns. They’re now wondering where they fall in line for getting vaccines.

After spending the past nine months traveling to treat COVID-19 cases in hot-spot areas across the country, a travel nurse who wishes to remain anonymous has a new opportunity to help in her home state of Colorado.

“I work exclusively in the ICU,” the travel nurse said. “The two weeks in-between moving to my new location is when this vaccine roll-out started.”

She should be excited, but instead, the nurse says she’s concerned after hearing some of her colleagues in the industry are getting passed up for COVID-19 vaccines.

“I have one friend who was told they are just not being offered to travelers and that’s the reasoning, it’s a very gray, uncertain, scary area,” she said. 

Problem Solvers contacted Colorado’s biggest health groups.

UCHealth says its current traveling nurses are in the first tiers for vaccination and they are treated the same as the others who are on the front lines.

Travel nurses within Centura Health are receiving invitations for vaccinations in accordance with the tier system that applies to all of the caregivers and associates.

According to a spokesperson for Centura, they began with Tier 1A.1, which includes health care workers with regular and/or consistent contact with COVID-19-positive and COVID-19 patients under investigation, or those in direct contact with their infectious materials.

HealthONE will be providing their travel nurses with the vaccine.

SCL Health says caregivers and providers on their frontline staff have already been invited to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they want it. This includes contract nurses who will be on contract for sufficient time to receive both injections of the vaccine.  

“It’s been really remarkable,” Fastaff Travel Nursing Senior Vice President of Marketing Lauren Pasquale Bartlett said. “In Colorado alone, we have had over a 550 percent increase in nurses this year than we had this time last year.”

Greenwood Village-based agency Fastaff Travel Nursing has twice as many nurses on the road as they normally would.

“At this point, a lot of our nurses have already received the vaccination and are sending us photos and videos,” Pasquale Bartlett said.

Officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shared the following information with FOX31 about travel nurses and vaccines:

  • The majority of early Phase 1 recipients will receive the vaccine through their employer, local public health agency or through the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program. 
  • We are working with our local public health agencies to vaccinate Phase 1-eligible providers, including traveling nurses, that are not connected to a hospital or health system. Traveling nurses who interact directly with COVID patients are part of phase 1A. 

Coloradans can contact COHELP (1-877-462-2911) with more questions.

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