Colorado is moving COVID vaccines from community sites back to doctors’ offices and pharmacies

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Dr. Lilia Cervantes, left, prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine during a pop-up clinic Friday evening, December 3, 2021, in the community center of the Villages at Gateway Apartments in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood.

Colorado will soon phase out state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites and instead shift vaccine distribution to traditional health care settings. 

The move is part of the Roadmap to Moving Forward, the state’s new plan as the omicron wave rolls out. State-run clinics where many received their first doses of the vaccine — such as mall parking lots, community centers and churches — will close by the end of the month. 

Many of these clinics also offer free testing, which will also close. 

Public health officials will instead direct unvaccinated and unboosted people to turn to traditional health care providers, such as local pharmacies, family doctors, and hospitals. 

Vaccination efforts by the state aren’t completely over. The state’s mobile vaccination clinic will continue to make stops in rural areas through at least June 30. And the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will continue to support resources and programs meant to improve vaccination rates. 

“In addition to mobile vaccine clinics, there are numerous equity-focused, vaccine-related resources and programs that will continue as part of our strategies to address health disparities, including community-based pop-up vaccination clinics, regional equity coordinators and resource specialists, the Champions for Vaccine Equity program, a forthcoming equity-focused grant program, and CDPHE’s partnership with 9Health:365 to offer free and low-cost vaccinations and health screenings,” a release said.

Just less than 70 percent of the state’s eligible population have received two doses of the vaccine. Children younger than 5 are currently ineligible to receive any of the three COVID-19 vaccines. 

Although Colorado is largely moving past the “emergency phase” of the pandemic, its leaders are somewhat hesitant to declare complete victory. If necessary, the state said it can reestablish emergency protocols, including community vaccination sites, within a four-to-five week timeline. 

More stories about COVID in Colorado at this moment: