Following the state’s COVID-19 vaccination prioritization plan, teachers and other essential workers are on track to be offered a vaccine by early March.
As of Tuesday morning, 5% of Larimer County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales told the county Board of Commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting.
Gonzales said 21,504 county residents have received the vaccine: 17,584 have received one dose and 3,920 have received both.
Larimer County is currently wrapping up Phase 1A of the state’s plan, which prioritizes front-line health care workers and residents and staff in long-term care facilities.
Gonzales said 48 of the 54 long-term care facilities in the county have received vaccines, and the county is on track to get the first round of the vaccine to all those facilities by Jan. 27.
As the county moves forward into Phase 1B, Gonzales said it will focusing on reaching the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of those age 70 and older by the end of February. There are about 40,000 Larimer County residents who are 70 or older, Gonzales said.
The county is also in the process of vaccinating other health care workers and first responders like police and firefighters, Gonzales told the commissioners.
This week, dermatologists, dentists and school nurses will begin to get the vaccine, Gonzales said. According to Poudre School District, 14 school nurses received a vaccine Tuesday.
About 1,200 dentists have signed up for the vaccine, 1,800 home health care professionals have signed up for the vaccine and more than 200 mental health care professionals registered to receive the vaccine as part of Phase 1B, Gonzales said.
With about 50,000 people prioritized in the next phase of the vaccine distribution and the limited supply of the vaccine, Gonzales said it will take several weeks to get through these groups.
In early March, Gonzales said the county is planning to begin vaccinating other groups in Phase 1B, including the 9,100 teachers and other school staff in Larimer County.
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As more people qualify for the vaccine later in Phase 1B and Phase 2, Gonzales said the county is looking at opening a drive-thru max vaccination site at The Ranch in Loveland — likely in early March — to make it easier to access the vaccine.
Gonzales asked the community for patience as the county plans for how to get vaccines for everyone who wants one. In the meantime, Gonzales reminded the community to continue following health and safety protocols.
Gonzales said Colorado and Larimer County have been somewhat successful at controlling the spread of the virus because residents are largely following public health guidance. Most importantly, people are limiting their interactions with people outside their household and wearing face coverings when out in public, Gonzales said.
“We’ve got to be diligent,” he said.
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How to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Larimer County
Those age 70 and older are encouraged to visit www.larimer.org/health/communicable-disease/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-vaccine and fill out a form to be notified about when and how they could get a vaccine.
Agencies and employers that fall under Phase 1B — like moderate risk health care providers, transportation and first responder agencies — can also visit the Larimer County website and fill out a form to help the county organize vaccine distribution.
As vaccines becomes more widely available, the county plans to open these forms to the general public, Gonzales said.
Those who do not have internet access can call 970-498-5500 for more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Larimer County.
Sady Swanson covers public safety, K-12 education and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.