San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) urges parents to start the COVID-19 vaccine series for their adolescents soon, in anticipation of the 2021-2022 school year. In La Plata County, 43% of adolescents (12-17 years) have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine series, falling shortly behind the Colorado average of 45% for 12 to 17-year-olds. Archuleta County lags further behind the State, with 26% of eligible adolescents vaccinated with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination will be crucial to prevent outbreaks and provide protection during the school year.

“COVID-19 vaccination is the best tool we have at our disposal to protect our students, teachers and families. If you haven’t had a chance to get vaccinated yet, please join the other families who have in protecting in-person learning,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH Executive Director. “The Delta variant is spreading primarily in the unvaccinated population. This variant appears to be more transmissible and more likely to result in hospitalization than other variants. The unvaccinated population are at especially high risk for contracting the Delta variant of COVID-19, even younger unvaccinated individuals can have a severe illness. Even if you’ve had COVID-19 previously, you should still get the vaccine, which is now convenient and widely available.”

Statewide, the Delta variant is circulating widely. It is now the dominant strain in Colorado, accounting for 90% of all random positive COVID-19 tests that are sequenced in the state.

SJBPH emphasizes that the new school year is about six weeks away, and time is running out for adolescents to get protection and be fully vaccinated by the first day of school. 12 to 17-year-olds are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and the two-dose series takes at least five weeks from the first shot for individuals to complete the series and reach maximum immunity. This means students in Ignacio must start their vaccine series by Monday, July 26th, to have full protection by the start of the school year. Archuleta County youth should be vaccinated by no later than August 3rd. Bayfield and Durango schools start in less than 5 weeks, so parents should vaccinate eligible adolescents right away.

SJBPH is closely tracking federal and state guidance that would open eligibility for children under 12 and is prepared, alongside partners, to rapidly vaccinate this population when they become eligible.

There are numerous vaccine providers in La Plata and Archuleta counties, and SJBPH is now offering clinics six days per week in partnership with Jogan Health. Dates and times for upcoming clinics are listed below. The full schedule of vaccine clinics, pop-ups, and mobile clinics is available online with convenient dates and times available across both counties:

Archuleta County

Pagosa Peak Open School, 7 Parelli Way, Pagosa Springs
• Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11:00am to 3:00pm (through July)
Turkey Springs Trading Post, 11497 W Hwy 160, Pagosa Springs
• Wednesdays, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm (through July)
Pagosa Springs High School, 800 S. 8th St, Pagosa Springs
• Thursdays, 11:00am to 3:00pm (Until 8/5)
East Side Market and Pagosa Farmers Market, 225 E Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs (Thru 8/1)
• Fridays, 10:00am to 2:00pm
• Saturdays, 9:00am to 1:00pm
• Sundays, 10:00am to 2:00pm
TARA Community Center, 333 Milton Lane, Arboles
• Saturday, July 31, 9 am to 12 pm

La Plata County

Fort Lewis College Student Life Center, 125 West Campus Court, Durango
• Monday through Friday, 11:00am to 6:00pm
• Saturdays, 10:00am to 3:00pm
The Glacier Club, 600 Glacier Club Dr, Durango
• Tuesday, July 27, 9 am to 12 pm
Old Main Post Office, 1060 Main Ave, Durango
• Tuesdays, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
• Wednesdays, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
• Saturdays, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
PJ’s Gourmet Market, 67 Trimble Crossing, Durango
• Wednesday, July 28, 11 am to 5 pm
Manna Soup Kitchen, 1100 Avenida del Sol, Durango
• Thursdays, 9:00am to 11:00am
Purgatory Mountain Resort, 1 Skier Place, Durango
• Fridays, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
La Plata County Fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave, Durango
• Friday, July 30, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Durango Farmers Market, 259 W 9th St, Durango
• Saturdays, 8:00am to 12:00pm
Forest Lakes, 998 Alpine Forest Dr, Bayfield
• Saturday, July 31, 9 am to 12 pm
Durango Flea Market, 2500 Main Ave, Durango
• Sundays, 8:00am to 12:00pm

Although advance registration is preferred, walk-ins are also welcome at upcoming clinics. The vaccine is free, and no ID is required. Additional clinics and information about the COVID vaccine can be found on SJBPH’s website.