by Mountain Mail Staff

Chaffee County Public Health’s online vaccination scheduler is online and healthcare workers, responders, as well as 70-year-old and older people may register now. 

Public health made the announcement Thursday and said that the scheduling tool was put into effect to “better streamline and make more efficient the COVID-19 vaccination process.”

Healthcare workers, responders and 70-year-old and older people may register now without having to wait for public health to respond to inquiries. 

Healthcare workers and responders fall within Phase 1A. The 70-year-old and older group falls within Phase 1B. 

Public health plans to vaccinate those groups during the next several weeks. 

For those who do not have access or ability to utilize the online scheduling system, public health officials ask that family, friends, service providers, and other supporters assist those who do not have the means to register themselves.  

Chaffee County Public Health can assist in the registration process for those lacking any of those resources.  

Local public health is also exploring a phone bank that will allow for greater customer service and support for those who are seeking vaccinations.

In collaboration with Columbine Manor, first doses have already been administered to staff and residents of Columbine Manor Care Center.  

After 70 percent of those 70 and older have been vaccinated, a process which will take several weeks, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has stated that local public health can begin  vaccinating essential workers, state government, and frontline journalists, which will likely take another several weeks according to Chaffee County. 

Public health estimated that later this winter they will be able to begin Phase 2. 

With additional vaccination provider support Phase 3 might be able to begin as early as spring, if the state public health department permits and if there is a steady stream of vaccine and supplies. 

Colorado’s time line anticipates a summer rollout for phase 3. 

Chaffee County Public Health vaccination services are for Chaffee County residents only, as neighboring counties are establishing their own distribution plans, and county allocations are based on their population and other demographics.

People who are not registered for a clinic seeking inoculation will be turned away and asked to register online or through public health  at a later date depending on their phase. 

Andrea Carlstrom, public health director and COVID-19 incident commander said, “While our first two clinics were very successful, they were for groups of healthcare workers and responders, usually with a coordinator from their offices. We quickly realized that the way we were scheduling was not sustainable.  

“With the Governor’s announcement of additional individuals being added to Phase 1, CCPH proactively pivoted to a system that will allow for greater efficiency, consistency, equity, and accountability.  

“I am proud of my team for continuously raising the bar.  We appreciate everyone’s patience, understanding, and flexibility as we look at ways to better serve our county,” Carlstrom said.

Those who have already received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine at a Chaffee County Public Health clinic, will be required to register online for their second dose.  

Those who have been hoping to get into an upcoming clinic, whether they have spoken to someone at public health or not, are asked to use the tool to register.  

The new scheduler will help administrators determine how many vaccines will be needed for each clinic, working with a two-dose vaccine separated by 28 days, without having to waste any dose Carlstrom stated.

Chaffee County Public Health has administered 488 vaccines in less than two weeks.  

Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center has distributed 399, and by Monday, they will have completed approximately 377 second doses of Pfizer and another 66 first doses of Moderna, mainly to its employees and other frontline healthcare workers and responders.  

Currently, public health clinics are held on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1-4 p.m. and are drive-through so that people do not need to leave their vehicles.  

Plans are underway to collaborate with the Chaffee County Shuttle for transportation alternatives and with other service providers to offer those who are homebound with vaccination services.

The vaccination scheduler is available at https://chaffeecounty.rsvpify.com/.  

When registering from a mobile device, cookies must be enabled.  

By 4 p.m. Thursday Chaffee County Public Health reported 380 people had taken advantage of the new tool. 

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