DENVER — 9NEWS asked if you had questions about how to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Here are a few of the questions you asked — and the answers we've been able to work through so far. 9NEWS will keep adding more as we get more clarity.
When are teachers going to be vaccinated?
This week the governor and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said teachers should start to be vaccinated by the end of February and beginning of March.
"By the end of February, we expect to vaccinate anyone over age 70 who wants it," said CDPHE Executive Director Jill Ryan. "We will begin vaccinating essential workers, like teachers, in early March. This timeline is dependent on receiving a steady supply of vaccine doses from the federal government."
As for specifics beyond that, here are answers from a handful of school districts:
Douglas County School District:
A spokeswoman for the Douglas County School District shared a note sent to staff Wednesday indicating some DCSD staff have started receiving invitations from Centura Health to schedule a vaccine appointment.
The note to staff detailed the timeline reflecting the state's guidance. Here is part of that note:
• Now through the end of February
DCSD staff who have positions that provide health-related services such as health assistants, educational assistant IVs, SSN, and AN center-based teachers and job classifications that work with SSN and AN programs who have close student contact should schedule their vaccine appointments between now (upon receipt of an invitation) and the end of February. Additionally, any staff members who are 70+ years old are encouraged to schedule their appointment as soon as possible.
• Beginning March 1 and ongoing
Teachers (including substitutes and eLearning teachers), school-based staff, and other school district staff that have daily contact with students (i.e. nutrition services, security, bus drivers, etc.) are asked to schedule their appointments on March 1 or later.
The district also detailed how people can get vaccinations through other providers, including Kaiser Permanente. The district also said staff who are Kaiser Permanente members can still receive the vaccine via Centura Health or another provider if they wish to do so.
Denver Public Schools
DPS shared this information:
"We are working closely with health officials, as well as local health-care providers, to determine the best and most efficient process for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to our staff once it is available to us.
The DPS Senior Leadership has been working hard over the break to build our plan to make the vaccine available to district and charter staff who have contact with students -- these are our "front-line essential workers."
It will be voluntary for staff to receive the vaccine. Staff are encouraged to reach out to their healthcare provider if they have questions about the vaccine. We will be sharing additional details as soon as we have them in the upcoming days."
JeffCo Public Schools
JeffCo Public School District shared a similar message Wednesday.
"We have been in close collaboration with local and state public health officials, discussing details and guidelines for when and how educators can be vaccinated. Of course we will communicate with our staff and community when there is any sort of plan in place, but as you know public health officials have changed directives again, yesterday, about who can be vaccinated when. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with our public health partners to support educator vaccinations according to public health guidance.
You can always suggest Jeffco Public Schools employees who are reaching out to you contact the district health service department or their local public health entity instead."
Cherry Creek School District
School nurses within the CCSD were the first school district employees in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. State officials explained that still fits with their timeline since they are health workers.
On Monday, CCSD announced plans to start vaccinating teachers right away, but Wednesday afternoon, the district issued a letter stating that the timeline will be pushed back in accordance with changes made by the state. The new plan has teachers starting vaccinations in March.
Do you have to get vaccinated in the same county you live in?
CDPHE shared this statement and their guidance:
"The state has not specifically required Coloradans get the vaccine in the same county they live in. Some counties have indicated they are limiting their doses to residents. We do strongly recommend that you get both doses from the same vaccine provider. Because of limited vaccine supply, your vaccine provider will need to place the order for your second dose after administering your first dose. This process ensures that the state's weekly allocation from the federal government will have enough second doses of the same vaccine product at the right time. Note that the second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine must be the same vaccine product as the first dose."
Why is the state moving on to phase 1B already?
The governor's office gave some insight into that decision making process in a statement.
"Some areas of the state have completed the majority of their 1A high-risk health care workers and we are urging others move faster to complete their 1A. Counties may be in different phases throughout this process depending on their pace and population as we work through the vaccine administration. Summit and Eagle county for example completed most of their 1A and transitioned to 1B including their 70 and older population - we celebrated their work and encourage every county to move as fast as they can."
What about loved ones in long-term care facilities?
The state said administering vaccines to people in long-term care facilities while in phase 1A is under a federal program.
Ryan, with CDPHE, expressed her concerns during a news conference Wednesday saying, "The federal government is running their pharmacy partnership for long-term care program and they have the contracts with Walgreens and CVS to get that done. We have reached out as a state. We don't feel like it's going quick enough. We've offered technical assistance and staffing to help move that along and continue to monitor that situation. The timeline we are providing is what we are hearing from the federal government and we will continue to do everything in our power to help move that process along as quickly as possible."
As for that timeline, Wednesday the governor said, "We expect by January 15th we will have vaccinated most health care workers in 1A and residents and staff in long term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities all will have received their first dose - most. There might be some additional work in the week or two after that."
The governor also expressed his frustration at not having authority over the vaccine administration at long-term care facilities.
The state said more of the focus will shift to vaccinating the 70 and older group later this month.
Health officials said the distribution timeline will be dependent on vaccine shipments and availability.
What about health care workers in phase 1A and 1B but not affiliated with major hospital systems?
CDPHE shared this information:
"They should contact their local public health agencies as they are focusing their efforts on prioritizing vaccination for any outstanding highest risk healthcare workers in phase 1A as well as moderate risk healthcare workers and first responders in phase 1B."
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