CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Rural counties around the state are tasked with figuring out how to vaccinate everyone eligible while only receiving a small number of vaccines. In some areas, that means holding off on vaccinating others while teachers get their first doses.
Clear Creek County was able to vaccinate around 70 teachers, half of all the county teachers, on Thursday. That’s about 70% of Clear Creek County’s entire vaccine allotment for two weeks.
Nearly everyone above the age of 70 has now been vaccinated in the county, putting teachers next in line. That's about 1,000 people.
Teachers like Sophie Egan braved the pandemic to keep students in class. She said that just talking to her kindergartens about why they have to wear masks is a challenge.
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"It’s been very concerning. It’s been hard," said Egan, an elementary school teacher in Clear Creek County. "I tell them, I’m wearing this mask because I love you. You’re wearing the mask because you love me. That’s why we’re wearing the masks."
The vast majority of students in Clear Creek County now go to school in person. So far, the district has avoided major outbreaks this semester.
Tim Ryan, Health Director in Clear Creek County said his office gets 100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine every two weeks. With the number of people eligible for the vaccine expanding, it’s become a challenge to decide how they’ll use the minimal supply.
"These teachers are here day in and day out. They have probably the highest level of exposure of anyone out in our community," Ryan said. "As of now, we haven’t received any additional vaccines earmarked for teachers. The vaccine allotment that we get each week, we’re taking a portion of that and putting it towards teachers."
The county said they hope to vaccinate the remaining teachers in the coming weeks but warns that the number of doses they get each week can shift with little notice.
For now, the teachers who have already gotten the vaccine are relieved.
"It was just a huge relief," said Egan. "I felt like doing the happy dance. I just knew that I was going to be able to keep my family safe."
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