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Doctors plea with rural county to get vaccinated

Only 46% of people in Baca County are currently vaccinated -- one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

SPRINGFIELD, Colo. — Doctors in Baca County are pleading with the community to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The county currently has a 46% vaccination rate, one of the lowest in Colorado.

Five healthcare providers in the county wrote a letter to their community, saying: 

The greatest honor a healthcare provider can receive is their patient's trust. Over the years, you have trust us in sickness and in health - in moments of great sorrow and of great joy. We have worked together to help you live your healthiest life. 

Today, we come to you as the community's healthcare providers to ask you to trust us again. Please get the Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccination is the single best way to protect your health and the health of those you love. Vaccination is the way to end this pandemic. 

We are facing the greatest public health crisis in our generation. Millions of people have tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 cutting short the precious years with their loved ones. Many who survive Covid are left disabled and likely will remain so for years. Their ability to work and support their family - gone. 

Everyday, we see the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccination. There is now an overwhelming amount of scientific data as well as our own experience, to support this vaccine's effectiveness and safety. We, along with 96% of all U.S. physicians, have chosen to take the vaccination to protect the health of those around us. We all want this pandemic over as much as anyone! 

     Signed, Janette Javier, MD; Antonio Manalo, MD; Colten Smouse, DO; Melvin Viney, FNP; Staci Bishop, PAC. 

The doctors who wrote the letter fear that not only could the county's low vaccination rate result in more people becoming infected, but it could also impact those who need hospitalization for other reasons. 

Southeast Colorado Hospital is a critical access hospital, and patients in need of more specialized care often need to be transferred to larger hospital systems. For instance, trauma patients will often be transferred to Denver metro hospitals. 

If those larger hospitals are at capacity, patients transferred for this type of care may be turned away. 

“If those hospitals are at capacity because of COVID infection, that really affects us in a very big way. It delays care for those that need a higher level of care or specialty care. So there’s a lot of effect for people who do not have COVID-19, and that’s what I try to tell people," said Dr. Janette Javier, who is a family medicine physician.

They hope the letter will sway those who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so. 

RELATED: Denver-area paramedics see hospitals diverting non-critical patients more frequently

RELATED: 'We have a crisis, a crisis of the unvaccinated': Polis pleads for more Coloradans to get vaccinated

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