COLORADO, USA — Everyone age 16 and older in Colorado who wants to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is now eligible to do so.
With that influx of people becoming eligible, don't expect to get a vaccine right away. You won't be able to sign up for an appointment until you're eligible, you can, however, take some steps now, to make the process a little smoother. For example, you don't need to wait until then to get on a waitlist, you can sign up now.
9NEWS spoke with Doug Ward and Sarah Gomez-Marwitz to get some tips about how to find a vaccine as quickly as possible. Gomez-Marwitz is known as the "vaccine whisperer" and has helped dozens of seniors navigate the vaccine signup process.
Both Ward and Gomez-Marwitz also sat down with 9NEWS to share their successes and tips when it comes to finding a vaccine appointment. Their answers below have been edited for context and clarity.
Once vaccines open for the general public on Friday—what will the race for an appointment be like?
Gomez-Marwitz: I think it’s going to be really hard finding an appointment and it’s all just going to be luck of the draw in how fast your computer is, how fast your internet connection is. It’s going to be really difficult and I don’t expect to find a lot of appointments right away for people.
Ward: It's going to definitely be nuts. We’re expecting quite the surge too on our Facebook group and it’s going to be quite the wave for people hunting for vaccines. Our Colorado Facebook Hunters group grew from 500 members to now over 20,000 members across Colorado.
Once you are eligible, what should you do in order to get an appointment?
Gomez-Marwitz: Signing up for the hospital systems now is more effective than it felt at the very beginning. If you’re on multiple hospital lists eventually you will get contacted. If you don’t have the fortune to stay home or social distance and keep maintaining that for another month or two you can go out looking for other appointments.
(Details about how and where to sign up are below in the article)
Keep an eye out on when there’s going to be mass clinics, make sure you’re logging in on time to get a spot for yourself or searching all the different pharmacy websites to try and find an appointment as well.
The biggest thing is to be patient. There’s a lot of people eligible on Friday and there’s not a lot of vaccines. So, not many people eligible on Friday are going to get a shot on Friday. It’s going to be a small number of people so we all just need to be patient.
Ward: The number one tip is to be patient and be persistent. Appointments come and go, cancellations happen all the time and really you have to keep checking. As difficult and as tedious as it may be, it is something we’re all having to do, and as soon as you find your appointment make sure you get off all the other lists and make your appointment.
Take a look around, there are so many resources our Facebook group is one, another is vaccinespotter.org which makes it easy to find appointments from Walgreens to Walmart to King Soopers.
Since we don’t have a centralized system it’s been difficult to tell everyone one simple answer of where to go to find a vaccine because there isn’t one. There are a million different avenues to get a vaccine and we’re thankful enough to help sort that out for people so they can get a vaccine quicker and easier.
What about those just looking for a second shot?
Gomez-Marwitz: Ideally where you’ve gotten your first shot, they’re going to be scheduling you your second shot. If you’ve traveled far to get your first shot, expect to travel far away to get your second shot at the same provider.
If there are some strange circumstances, there are places that have second dose appointments specifically and usually, those are a little more tricky to find and usually, you can’t find them until the day before, or the day of that you’re due so you won’t be able to book those ahead of time.
What about those 16-year-old’s only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Can they search for that shot specifically?
Gomez-Marwitz: A lot of the sites will at a minimum, almost all of them, will indicate two-dose or one dose so then that’s a good start. There are some providers that do indicate if it's Pfizer or Moderna. Some of the best places that I found are National Jewish Health and CVS. It says it when you’re booking the appointment.
But a lot of the providers don’t always know what they’re going to get so it’s also still hard to look for a Pfizer-specific appointment.
Ward's top tips for finding an appointment
- Be patient and persistent.
- Widen you search - if you have the ability to travel, you can find more availability.
- Use Colorado Vaccine Hunter Facebook group for tips/suggestions.
- Search vaccine availability at pharmacies through Vaccinespotter.org.
- Sign up at a community site near you.
- Sign up with a healthcare provider (details on where and how below).
- Call the vaccine hotline 1-877-CO VAX Co (1-877-268-2926).
- Set a Twitter alert for @COVaxAlerts. It will notify you when an appointment becomes available across the state.
- Seek out leftover vaccines from canceled appointments.
As noted above there is no single place to look for a vaccine. Below you'll find information on the different places and ways to book appointments for the COVID vaccine.
Where and how can I get a vaccine?
The vaccine is available for members of the general public through major health care providers, pharmacies, and mass vaccination sites. More specific information about each option is below.
Most, if not all, major health providers have waitlists where you can sign up. You can do that now, and once you are eligible and spots become available, you'll be notified by text, email or both. Once you get that notification, act fast, as spots will likely fill up quickly.
UCHealth said non-patients can sign up on its website to be a part of that random selection process.
A vaccine hotline has also been set up. That number is 720-462-2255, and it operates Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and on weekends between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There's also a number set up for Spanish speakers. That number is 844-945-2508.
To register online, visit here to sign up. You can also call 303-436-700 to sign up by phone between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Due to a large call volume, it's recommended that you use the online option if possible.
Centura patients should receive an invitation when it is their time to receive a vaccine through the MyCenturaHealth patient portal. Appointments are required and no walk-in vaccines will be accommodated.
Centura also has a vaccine hotline. That number is 866-414-1562
For Kaiser Permanente members and non-members, visit Kaiser Permanente’s vaccine webpage to complete the “COVID-19 vaccine sign up.”
Upon providing your information, you will be placed on a first-come, first-served waitlist for the vaccine based on your eligibility.
After signing up, no further action will be needed as Kaiser Permanente will reach out by phone, email or text once the person is in an eligible phase and vaccine supply is available.
Coloradans can also call Kaiser Permanente’s COVID-19 Interactive Voice Response (IVR) line at 1-844-951-1932 to be put on the list.
Boulder Community Health
Individuals who have signed up will be chosen at random to make an appointment once eligible.
The quickest and most efficient way to arrange for vaccination from Boulder Community Health (BCH) is through the MyBCH patient portal, which provides community members with unrestricted access to vaccines.
You do not need to be a BCH patient to set up a free MyBCH account. If you already have an account, make sure that your personal information is up to date to make sure you'll receive the vaccine notifications. If you don't have an account, you can sign up here.
They're coordinating all vaccinations through Eagle County Public Health. Vaccine requests can be made here.
SCL Health (Denver metro area)
The quickest way to receive your COVID-19 vaccine is through SCL Health’s MyChart. You can find instructions on how to do that and how to schedule an appointment here.
If you have an SCL Health MyChart account and are in an eligible vaccination group, you can log in to MyChart to self-schedule your vaccine. If you do not find an available appointment right away, please continue to check back frequently. You may also receive updates through the MyChart app and by email about vaccine availability.
If you do not have an SCL Health MyChart account, you can quickly create one, and you don't have to be an SCL Health patient to create it.
You can also call 1-833-762-0141.
Summit County Public Health, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center (SASMC), has developed a local vaccine distribution plan.
They're using the PrepMod registration system for the vaccine, which is an online registration system that allows eligible individuals to put their names on a contact list for vaccination appointments.
To receive a vaccination, complete the COVID-19 vaccine request form to sign up to receive additional information and instructions about scheduling an appointment.
If you do not have access to email or need additional assistance, call 720-650-8274. You will be instructed to leave a message with your full name, date of birth and phone number.
National Jewish Health
Current patients are already on a waitlist to be notified to receive a vaccine once they're eligible. Members of the public who are not patients can sign up here.
If for some reason you can't sign up online you can call 303.398.1355 and select option 8, to leave your name, email address, age, and zip code on voicemail.
Mass vaccination sites
By the end of this week, the following sites will be open in the state and will eventually be able to vaccinate about 6,000 people per day.
Since they're operated by different providers, you can't sign up to be on a waitlist for all of them at once.
Centura Health is operating the sites at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Broadmoor World Arena and the Colorado State Fairgrounds. To book a vaccine or to be on their waitlist, click here. You can also call 855-882-8065 to make an appointment between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily
If you prefer the location at Ball Arena, you can sign up here. That site officially opens on April 1.
Sign up for the Larimer County site here. If you'd like to get vaccinated at the Grand Junction Convention Center, you can register here.
The Commerce City site is generally open Sunday to Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Colorado Springs site is open Friday to Monday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the Pueblo site is open those same days between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For hours of operation for the other sites and details about which vaccines are available at each location, visit the state's website.
If a person doesn't have a car to get to their appointment, the state said they will still be accommodated, writing:
"For logistical ease, sites prefer people to come in a car if they have access to a vehicle. Since we don’t want vehicle access to be a barrier to vaccination, the sites can also accommodate people without vehicles as needed."
The vaccine is available at major retail pharmacies in Colorado. They include:
Smaller pharmacies owned by Cardinal are also getting a share of the supply. For a list of those locations click here
You can search pharmacy appointments at VaccineSpotter.org
How are your second doses guaranteed?
A viewer asked about how second doses are guaranteed when someone is able to get a leftover dose at the end of the day. Typically, providers schedule a second dose when a person is receiving their first dose. Each dose is mirrored to make sure there are sufficient supplies for a person to finish the vaccine course, if two doses are necessary.
If the second dose is not scheduled, people can reach out to the state at:
COVID Concerns: https://covid19.colorado.gov/CovidConcerns
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