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Frustration grows trying to get parents over 70 'on the list' for COVID vaccinations

Julie Bartos' parents are 80. Her dad has cancer. Yet, she can't find him a COVID-19 vaccine.

GOLDEN, Colorado — In the town of Golden are two different people with the same problem.

"This is my mom and dad. Dad is 84. My mom is 82," said Julie Bartos, a Golden resident.

Sandra Llanes' parents are in their 80s as well. Yet both Llanes and Bartos cannot get their parents in to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"(My dad) had an amputation from an accident in April and then my mom has a heart condition. So, they are both primed to get this vaccine." Llanes said.

Bartos said her parents, John and Karen, can't get on the schedule despite their age and her dad's fight with cancer.

"They haven't had any luck with getting the shot. They've tried. They're on many different lists," Bartos said. "The communication has been really frustrating. We don't know where to go and they have really tried many different routes and we're just running into a brick wall."

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Golden isn't the only place with this problem. Kaiser Permanente is offering vaccines at 13 locations across the Front Range and released a statement about how vaccine supply is causing issues:

"Kaiser Permanente has launched an online COVID-19 vaccine sign up, making it easy for Coloradans to reserve a spot to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Kaiser Permanente members and non-members should visit KP.org/covidvaccine to sign up. After signing up, no further action will be needed as Kaiser Permanente will outreach by phone, email, or text once the person is in an eligible phase and vaccine supply is available.

Kaiser Permanente is leveraging its electronic medical record to reach out to all Kaiser Permanente members in Colorado through text messages, emails, and letters encouraging sign ups. Those who are designated in Phase 1A, and Coloradans ages 70+ from 1B, are eligible now to receive the vaccine based on supply.

Currently, Kaiser Permanente in Colorado is administering the vaccine at 13 locations along the Front Range. The organization has provided more than 13,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible Coloradans, including members, employees in long-term care facilities and those who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients, frontline health care workers from our community, among others. 

The state’s largest nonprofit health plan is ramping up capacity to deliver more than 20,000 vaccines each week and eventually 50,000 each week. Vaccine supply is provided by the State of Colorado and is currently limited. We are committed to providing as many doses as possible based on available supply."

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"You hear about other folks that are over 70 that have received it and you're just kind of wondering what do we need to do differently to get them in line?" Llanes said. "It's tough when you have parents that are experiencing this and really can't live a normal life."

Bartos said this issue needs to be resolved for people who are eligible to get the vaccine now. She said her dad is really struggling with being away from family.

"He hasn't hugged his granddaughters for a year -- or me," Bartos said. "He really needs to see other humans for his mental health and that is probably the hardest part."

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