Vaccinating 70 and older group by the end of the month remains the state’s goal

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DENVER — In less than five days, February will come to an end. For people 70 years and older, its a worrisome reality if they still haven’t received their COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s very frustrating, because I thought that the seniors the 70s and 80s were supposed to be the first to get it,” said 87-year-old Ruth Duncan, who still hasn’t received her vaccine.

Duncan turns 88 years old in March and feels like she’s been forgotten when it comes to getting her shot.

“It doesn’t make you feel very good. It makes you feel like they’re trying to get rid of you. They don’t want us old people around anymore,” said Duncan.

Duncan says she signed up on as many vaccine lists as she can.

“I tried to call Kaiser right away whenever they said they had it available. I’ve tried King Soopers; I’ve tried Walmart and nobody is giving them out here,” said Duncan.

On Kaiser Permanente’s list, Duncan is number 600. Their list is updated as they cross-reference data from the state.

Kaiser says so far they’ve vaccinated more than 33,000 people in the 70 and older group and expect to vaccinate another 15,000 Coloradans this weekend, a majority who are 70 years and older.

It’s these long wait times across several providers that forcing people eligible to get the vaccine to drive to San Juan County.

“We started receiving phone calls as far away as Boulder County, Denver, San Miguel, Ouray, La Plata. It’s actually very concerning for the fact of where Silverton is located. and so it’s not only a six hour drive but you’re talking multiple mountain passes, treacherous Red Mountain Pass in a snow storm has actually causes issues for those who have had appointments with our community and they had to cancel,” said public information officer for San Juan County, DeAnne Gallegos.

CDPHE says they are right below 90% of their goal of vaccinating 70% of people aged 70 or older.

The state health department also says so far they’ve vaccinated more than 350,000 people in this group and estimate there to be a total of 560,000 people 70 or older.

Even though Duncan has been waiting for almost two months for her vaccine, she’s still hopeful it will come soon.

“Well, I guess I feel that I am a fighter and I can keep going,” said Duncan.