Yesterday, local public health agencies and healthcare facilities in southwest Colorado began to receive their first shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses will be allocated to Phase 1A healthcare workers according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine plan. Facilities receiving the vaccine will begin to administer the vaccinations to their frontline staff starting this week.

Individuals in phase 1A include high-risk health care workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients, and long-term care facility staff and residents. Once distribution to all individuals in Phase 1A is complete, as more vaccine becomes available, distribution to phases 1B, 2, and 3 will follow subsequently. The Moderna vaccine received today will not be enough to vaccinate all individuals in the Phase 1A category.

It is expected that the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine(s) will be very limited for several months. This means that a vaccine will not be immediately available to everyone who wants one. The phased approach to vaccine distribution was developed to be as equitable and efficient with distribution as possible, with the goal of saving lives by vaccinating people who are most likely to get COVID-19 first.

“We are extremely pleased with how well the initial distribution of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine went last week, with Southwest Colorado achieving 100% on-time distribution and administration of its allotment of vaccine,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health. “We are excited to continue this crucial process of getting vaccine out to our highest priority recipients in frontline healthcare positions with the Moderna vaccines received,” Jollon continued. “Equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine will move us in the right direction to save lives and contain the virus. One way we can keep each other healthy, support our health care workers, and get communities back on their feet is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the vaccine becomes available. When we get vaccinated, we can slow the surge to help our nurses, doctors, schools, fellow community members, and businesses,” she said.

SJBPH reminds everyone to continue to be vigilant as we wait for COVID-19 vaccine to become more available. The necessary steps that must be taken now by everyone to slow the spread of COVID-19 are:

• Universal use of face masks
• Social distancing of at least 6 feet
• Avoiding nonessential indoor spaces
• Getting tested if you are symptomatic, think you’ve been exposed, or if you work in a high-contact position
• Prompt following of quarantine guidance if exposed
• Protecting people at higher risk of severe illness or death
• Postponing travel
• Improving indoor ventilation and hand hygiene
• Protecting essential workers
• Getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine see: https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/.
For more information see: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.