San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is coordinating with regional healthcare partners to get a head start on the vaccination of long-term care facility staff and residents to protect the more vulnerable population of older adults against the COVID-19 virus. The regional focus on providing vaccines to long-term care facilities (LTCFs) is in advance of the launch of the federal government’s partnership with pharmacies tasked with vaccinating residents of these facilities.

SJBPH is partnering with Animas Surgical Hospital (ASH) in La Plata County and Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) in Archuleta County to supplement the federal LTCF vaccine program by providing vaccine for staff and residents of LTCFs in each county. The federal program will still provide essential vaccination to staff and residents who are not able to be vaccinated beginning this week.

LTCF staff and residents are both identified in the high-priority phase 1A of the state’s phased COVID-19 vaccine plan. Today, Governor Polis highlighted an update to the state’s phased plan which added additional categories of individuals who qualify for phase 1B to include essential workers, first responders, and those over 70 years of age.

SJBPH and healthcare partners are focused on providing vaccines to individuals in phase 1A and will move to phase 1B once this is accomplished and as additional allotments of vaccine become available. SJBPH will share information on vaccine distribution in upcoming phases as it becomes available.

“SJBPH is pleased to be working with ASH and PSMC to supplement the federal program to get vaccine to our local long-term care facilities so we can best protect older adults who are most at risk from COVID-19 in a timely fashion,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH. “We know that our community is anticipating the completion of long-term care vaccination so that everyone’s vulnerable loved ones will be as safe as possible from the current wave of infection. Our thanks go to our facilities and healthcare partners who are participating in this important effort.”