Aurora, Colo. (Jan. 7, 2021) – UCHealth has now provided the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 32,000 people as well as second doses to an additional 1,000 health care workers. UCHealth began offering vaccines to people age 70 and older last week and continues to vaccinate those in this group as quickly and as safely as possible.
Following the vaccine distribution plan developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), UCHealth started vaccinating health care providers on Dec. 14, beginning first with those physicians and staff members who have been providing the most frequent and direct care for patients with COVID-19. Now UCHealth is providing vaccinations for others in the state’s phase 1 group including those age 70 and older. This offering will continue to expand in the coming weeks as additional shipments of vaccine arrive in conjunction with the state’s goal to vaccinate 70 percent of those 70 and older by the end of February.
“There currently is not enough vaccine to provide it to everyone, even within the phase 1 groups. So to offer the vaccine as fairly as possible, UCHealth is randomly selecting patients who are 70 years old or older to receive invitations,” said UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jean Kutner. “We encourage our patients to watch for these messages which will allow them to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination. As we receive additional shipments of vaccine, we are sending out more invitations.”
Information about UCHealth’s vaccine distribution plan is available on its website at uchealth.org/covidvaccine. This site includes information to help people sign up and be included in the vaccine distribution, even if they are not current UCHealth patients. Anyone 70 and older, including those who are not current patients, will be entered into the random selection process to receive invitations to schedule a vaccine appointment. Anyone less than 70 will be notified when vaccinations are available for their respective phase, as directed by CDPHE.
“We are aware that many people may not have access to a computer or smartphone and may not be able to create a My Health Connection account,” Dr. Kutner said. “We are developing plans now to help these people schedule appointments, and we are also planning clinics in underserved areas in our state to specifically offer vaccine to low income and minority communities as well as senior living and assisted living communities.”
While UCHealth experts agree it is great news that vaccines are now being distributed, they emphasize that it is important to know that it will take time for the vaccines to be available broadly. People should please be patient as, according to the state’s current timeline, the vaccine will not be available for the general public until the summer of 2021.
UCHealth encourages everyone to remain diligent, wash hands, wear masks, watch their distance from others, and avoid gatherings with others, even after they receive the vaccine. If anyone has even mild symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should isolate themselves to avoid potentially spreading it to others and absolutely seek medical care if needed.