Counties across Southern Colorado have begun vaccinating adults 70 and older, in accordance with the state's phased vaccine rollout plan.
The San Luis Valley saw a rise in coronavirus cases in the fall, like many areas across the state, but Linda Smith with the San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership said cases have decreased in the past few months
Smith said older adults are anxious to receive the vaccine.
"For some smaller counties that don't have as much of a hospital or clinic presence, [they] have had some of those 70-plus folks lined up three hours before the clinic has been scheduled to open," said Smith.
Smith said at this point, they have more demand than they have vaccines available.
"I know the state is giving us what they can, and trying to be as equitable as possible given what comes in," said Smith. "We'd love to get more and we hope that will happen."
Some counties, like Alamosa and Costilla, have started taking appointments to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations. The Alamosa County Public Health Department hosts clinics by appointment on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Other counties, like Conejos, have hosted drive-thru clinics on a first come, first serve basis.
Pueblo is hosting a vaccination clinic at the Pueblo Mall, which previously housed one of the county's testing sites. After an opening day that saw long lines and wait times, health officials in the county have shifted to a sign-up system for vaccines.
El Paso County Public Health is working with health partners like UCHealth to connect community members to the COVID-19 vaccine, said Michelle Hewitt with the department.
Despite challenges, Smith with the San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership said the vaccine has given her hope for the new year.
"It is definitely something that's made me think, 'Oh, maybe I could consider where I could go for a vacation later this year, that would be nice'," said Smith. "You know, those kinds of thoughts that I wasn't able to even consider last year are now seeming like a possibility. We can see the light at the end of that tunnel."
Where else can you get the COVID vaccine in Southern Colorado?
- SLV Health, or call (719) 587-1355
- Valley-Wide Health Systems, (719) 589-3658
- Custer (719) 430-4601
- Fremont (719) 276-7421
- Lincoln (719) 743-2526
- Las Animas and Huerfano
- Otero (719) 383-3040
- Teller (719) 687-6416
- King Soopers
- Kaiser Permanente (Pueblo North Medical Offices)
- Salud Family Health Centers, (970) 484-0999