Vaccination tourism?

Bothered by the term “vaccination tourism,” that it just doesn’t sound quite right or proper?

The phrase comes from those who are making a vacation of sorts in the county around getting a shot of the vaccine from a local provider.

Should out-of-town folks be taking advantage of vaccine availability in the county?

Federal guidelines require vaccine providers to give the shots to anyone regardless of their state or country of origin. Those getting vaccinated are not asked to show an ID proving their residence in the county.

Jonathan Trenary, HRRMC pharmacy services director, said Gov. Jared Polis has asked those giving vaccine shots to reduce barriers to anyone seeking vaccination.

He said vaccine providers are not permitted to require an ID or exclude patients from getting the vaccine if they are from outside the county or even from out of state.

Perhaps the more important question is are those coming to the county to be vaccinated taking vaccines away from local residents?

This does not appear to be the case. Pharmacist Trenary said he “has not witnessed any vaccine tourists taking vaccines from local residents.” 

Or in other words, there’s more vaccine availability in the county than there is demand for the vaccine from local residents.

As of this week, just 43 percent of county residents had availed themselves of virus vaccination. 

Providers are noting that the number of residents seeking the shots are slowing. It’s one of the reasons why the county health department has not scheduled any new mass vaccination clinics at the county fairgrounds.

Andrea Carlstrom, county public health director, said she sees no problem with vaccination vacations as long as the county has the supply and capacity to first help local residents, that then visitors are welcome to partake.

The vaccines – Moderna and Pfizer – are readily available through local pharmacies on an appointment basis. A phone call is all it takes.

One way to look at this is the more folks who are vaccinated locally, across the state, nation and world, for that matter, the less a threat the coronavirus is, and the safer we all are.

FIBARk reservations

One positive sign of “virus relief” in coming months, FIBArk officials announced this week that Salida’s five-day, mid-June summer festival is back on schedule.

“We’re looking forward to an intimate, local festival this year with time-honored boat and land races ...,” FIBArk’s Allie Gober said.

The 73rd annual version will include the traditional line up of river and land races including the Tenderfoot Hill Climb and Hooligan Race.

But this year’s events will have some limitations  on crowd sizes for music and spectating requiring reservations and registrations.

Look for more information in coming weeks.

Better than alternative

While on the subject of summer, the Arkansas River’s streamflow forecast as of March 31 calls for a volume that’s 86 percent of average – the highest in the state – thanks in no small part to end of month storms.

The Arkansas basin’s March 31 snowpack was 110 percent of average – also the highest in the state – and an increase over the previous month’s mark of 90 percent.

While the basin streamflow forecast and snowpack are positive indicators, it’s too early to predict summer runoff. But better to be on the positive side at this point than the alternative.

– MJB