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Colorado hospital systems get ready for mass vaccinations

“If we had more vaccine, we could certainly administer it,” UCHealth Dr. Richard Zane told 9NEWS.

COLORADO, USA — Talks about how to mass vaccinate the public with the COVID-19 vaccine are well underway in Colorado, with hospital systems like UCHealth remaining confident they have the staff to meet the eventual demand.

“Right now, for UCHealth, our limitation is vaccine [amounts] and not the ability to deliver the vaccine,” UCHealth’s Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Richard Zane said.

UCHealth is considering options like drive-through vaccination centers, according to Dr. Zane.

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

He said UCHealth hospitals have the staff needed to operate vaccine distribution sites and training is not difficult, if it becomes necessary.

“It’s very easy to give a vaccine,” Dr. Zane said. “There’s nothing different about this vaccine than administering any other vaccine.”

Denver Health could not comment on future planning, but said they feel confident in their current vaccine administration process.

Pharmacies like Walgreens, which are currently helping vaccinate residents and staff at long-term care facilities, are also preparing.

In a statement sent to 9NEWS, a Walgreens corporate spokesperson said:

“Thousands of Walgreens pharmacy team members have the training and expertise to administer COVID-19 vaccines. They have been administering vaccines for more than a decade. Additionally, Walgreens is actively hiring team members in support of these efforts, with approximately 25,000 open positions to fill right now in the U.S. 

We continuously look for the right talent on an ongoing basis and are hiring 8,000 – 9,000 pharmacy team member roles to support the full spectrum of pharmacy and COVID-19 testing and vaccine needs. We have been hiring and are continuing to hire for support across our teams and stores. During this time, we’re proud to be able to help support more Americans with jobs.” 

Despite the open positions, Walgreens said they are not experiencing or anticipating a shortage of workers.

UCHealth, Denver Health and Centura all told 9NEWS they currently have enough vaccine to give everyone who got their first shot a second dose.

“I think we’re waiting on the federal government,” Dr. Zane said. “We’re very dependent on the federal government allocating vaccine for the state, and then the state allocates vaccine to different public health agencies and different hospital systems.”



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