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Summit County begins vaccinating 70+ population through drive-through clinics

New Year’s Eve marked the county’s third drive-through vaccine clinic in December.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Summit County vaccinated 371 people in their third vaccine drive-through clinic on New Year’s Eve.

Many of those people were 70 or older, a new group being vaccinated under Governor Polis’ updated vaccine distribution plan.

RELATED: Next phase of vaccine distribution expanded to include teachers, grocery store workers, seniors

“We know they’ve been very mindful and very careful keeping themselves safe from this illness and having a drive-through model allows us to minimize exposure,” said Sara Lopez, nurse manager with Summit County Public Health. 

The drive-through vaccination point is in Frisco at a bus barn for the Summit Stage, Summit County’s free bus system.

Lopez said the drive-through can service about 80 people an hour, which is about four cars every three minutes. 

People register ahead of time and can get through the vaccination process in about four minutes before waiting another 15 minutes in an off-site parking lot monitored by EMTs to make sure they do not have any negative side-effects, according to Lopez.

Safety and speed are the primary objectives, and practice is what Lopez said has helped the county get there.

Most recently, they held three flu shot clinics in October, but Lopez said administering and storing the COVID-19 vaccine is much more complicated.

“Once you puncture the vile, you have to use all the doses in the vile very quickly, so we want to have a zero-waste goal in the county so that every one of these doses is able to be administered into an individual here,” Lopez said.

RELATED: CDC: 1 million Americans have received 1st COVID-19 vaccine

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment went to the site last week to see its first and second clinics take place.

Summit County said they shared plans for how they operate the drive-through with the state in hopes other counties will set up similar vaccination points.

“It’s a fantastic way to administer the vaccine to a large number of people very efficiently and very safely,” Lopez said.

The county said over the past three weeks, they’ve administered almost all their 1,800 doses through their drive-through clinics, hospitals and pharmacies.

On New Year's Eve, 371 people were vaccinated through the drive-through clinic.A total of 591 people were vaccinated at the clinic over two days the weekend before.

The county said they about 3,200 more people to vaccinate in the first distribution categories, 1A and 1B. They said they are hoping to get their next shipment of vaccines early next week after requesting 1.100 more doses from the state.

RELATED: Some counties in Red on COVID-19 dial to move to Orange

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