How Coloradans can prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine

As Colorado enters phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine priority plan, many state residents are wondering what the next steps are for them to get their shot.

Currently, Colorado is between phase 1A and 1B, which means that highest-risk healthcare workers and individuals are all being vaccinated, and Coloradans age 70+, moderate-risk healthcare workers, first responders and frontline essential workers have started to receive the vaccine. That doesn’t guarantee, though, that a health facility near you or even your own provider will have access to doses – the national rollout and delivery of doses has fallen behind initial expectations.

As Colorado moves into phase 2 in the spring, people aged 60 to 69 and other essential workers will be targeted to receive the vaccine. Phase 3 is expected to start this summer, which will grant the general public access to the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be open to all residents of Colorado for free, regardless of medical coverage. Also, as of January 18, the Public Health Department of Colorado sent a notice to vaccine providers that identification cards are not required to receive the vaccine in support of undocumented residents, those experiencing homelessness, or others without access to ID. Remember the promise of “free” – if anyone asks you to provide credit card or other financial information while talking about the vaccine, it is a scam, and state officials urge you to report them.

There are more than 474 vaccination locations across the state of Colorado with most counties having more than one provider. To learn more about the closest location to you, check online.

When the time comes, in most cases, hospitals will reach out to their qualified patients. In other facilities, individuals may sign up to be contacted about scheduling their vaccination. Another option throughout Colorado is the Safeway pharmacy. Local Safeway pharmacies are working with public health agencies to organize vaccination clinics for groups as soon as phase 

1B. Further information about Safeway’s vaccination clinics can be found on their social media platforms.

If you have a regular primary care provider, it doesn’t hurt to call them and see if they are keeping wait lists or contact lists in the event they receive vaccines directly. Local safety net clinics, churches and others have also been hosting vaccination events when supplies are available, so keep informed through your local media.

The most important steps to take before getting the vaccine are to continue to slow the spread of the disease by closely following public health guidelines including physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing of hands. State health providers recognize the frustration felt by Coloradans waiting for vaccines to become available. With the availability of vaccines, there is hope that life will return to some level of normalcy. They say they share this frustration, and are asking for clarity from federal vaccine experts on supplies and timing. It’s going to take a strong dose of patience, as Colorado works to distribute the vaccine as quickly, efficiently and fairly as possible.

NextFifty Initiative provides funding to local organizations and programs that champion resources, education and services for older adults. 

For more information about their funding visit www.next50initiative.org.

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