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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is one step closer to opening up their vaccination clinics to existing patients over the age of 75. Over the weekend, the hospital vaccinated a small group of those patients through a pilot program. 

Dave Lillie is one of the patients who got a dose of the Moderna vaccine. He is the stepfather of a station employee. 

He and his wife, Billie, are thrilled. “He has a history of respiratory distress, and he’s going to be 87 January 1st, so it’s sort of like a Christmas/birthday miracle,” Billie said.

Dr. Jean Kutner, the chief medical officer, says a few dozen existing patients over the age of 75 who had My Health Connection patient portal accounts were randomly selected for the pilot program.

“We wanted to test out the scheduling system, and then once they got there make sure that it was a smooth flow for them and that they felt safe,” Dr. Kutner said.

She says once Governor Jared Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment give the green light to vaccinate patients over the age of 75, her system will be ready.

“I think a lot of us really feel a lot of hope now,” Dr. Kutner said.

At UCHealth, the plan is to notify each group of existing patients as they become eligible for the vaccine through the patient portal notification system which can use texts and emails. Doctors say it is important to have an updated account.

People who are not patients at UCHealth should check with their provider about the vaccine distribution plan.

Dave and Billie Lillie hope other people will get vaccinated soon.

“It’s very easy. It’s a very small needle,” Dave said.

They say the vaccine will give them peace of mind. “I slept through the night for the first time in 10 months, and it’s an enormous relief that I know Dave will be protected,” Billie said.