As more people are vaccinated for COVID-19, it would help if they alerted the different health providers where they have lined up for an appointment to let them know they have obtained shots elsewhere.
“People get on multiple lists, and that’s fine, but once you get the vaccine, alert the other entities where you’ve signed up that you don’t need the vaccine,” said Bobbi Lock, director of the Montezuma County Public Health Department.
Communicating vaccination status would aid various providers as they plan to distribute their available doses, she said.
On Tuesday, Lock gave a COVID-19 update to Montezuma County commissioners, who convened as the Montezuma County Board of Health.
Planning to vaccinate an entire population can prove to be tricky, and Lock noted providers also were working with limited information on the supply of vaccine.
“You don’t know exactly how many doses you’ll get. That’s what makes it hard to plan,” Lock said.
Providing accurate information on vaccination status aids the health department, Southwest Memorial Hospital, private doctors and pharmacies as they focus on completing immunizations for people 70 and older.
Currently, people 70 and older are the focus for COVID-19 vaccination providers.
Beginning March 1, Lock estimates Montezuma County will begin working to vaccinate the next population prioritized for vaccinations after people 70 and older.
“The reason we are aiming at people 70 and older is that they make up 78% of the deaths and 78% of the hospitalizations,” Lock said.
Once the 70-and-older population is vaccinated, the priority for vaccinations will move to teachers and frontline education workers, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers, grocery workers, public health and human services workers, and people working with the homeless population.
As of Tuesday, 607 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 61 second doses of the vaccine have been administered by the Montezuma County Public Health Department.
Those immunizations come in addition to the 1,358 first doses and 565 second doses given by Southwest Health System, which operates Southwest Memorial Hospital, that had been administered as of Monday.
The total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the county is hard to determine precisely because the amount of vaccines provide by pharmacies and private providers is not quickly accessible, Lock said.
However, on the county health department’s website, the best numbers the agency has for total vaccinations administered in the county is 2,620 first doses and 576 second doses.
From Jan. 18 to Jan. 24, the county Public Health Department estimates the number of vaccinations administered in Montezuma County by all providers at 668 first doses and 237 second doses.
Many people have reported feeling ill after their second dose, but Lock said that indicated that their immune systems were reacting to the vaccinations, and it was a good sign.
“Your body will react with both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine,” she said. “It’s not that you’re sick. It’s your body’s immune response, and it’s a good thing. You’re not sick. It’s your body’s immune response.”