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Vaccine cold calls no violation of Colorado's no-call list

In an effort to increase vaccination numbers, unvaccinated Coloradans will be getting a call for the state health department's call center.

DENVER — In an effort to get increase Colorado's vaccination numbers, the call center for the state health department will be calling yours.

COVAXCO, the inbound COVID-19 vaccination call center for the state, is now doing some outbound work.

On Monday, that call center started reaching out to people listed in the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) who do not have vaccinations for COVID-19.

"We know that this vaccine is the key to ending this pandemic," said Colorado COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman. "We know that this vaccine will keep people from being hospitalized and keep people from dying, and so we're doing everything we can to reach out to Coloradans to make sure that they have all the information that they need to make a decision that is best for them."

Bookman also said that the state started text messaging almost 500,000 unvaccinated people this weekend. The contact numbers are from the CIIS. The numbers get into the system if the person ever provided their medical provider a phone number when getting a different vaccination.

"All the information is coming from CIIS and other publicly available records," said Bookman.

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So, how does this not violate the Colorado No-Call Registry?

More than 2.7 million people in Colorado have signed up to not receive solicitation phone calls and text messages.

The No-Call Registry defines an illegal "telephone solicitation" as a call or text (even a fax) "…encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services…"

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission established the rules for how the No-Call Registry works, and the Consumer Protection Unit of the Colorado Attorney General's Office handles complaints and violations.

According to spokespeople with the Attorney General's Office and the PUC, encouraging a vaccine is not a purchase, rental or investment in property, goods or services.

OK, so it is not a violation of the No-Call Registry, how do we know our information is not being sold or marketed beyond the "can I interest you in a vaccine" phone call or text?

"All of this information is being used for the sole purpose of reaching out to people to make sure that they have the information that they need to make the right decision for themselves and their families about this vaccine," said Bookman. "We have statutory limitations on how we can use this information and we're only using it to reach out to people to make sure that they understand where they can get this vaccine and to answer any questions that they have."

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The push to get more people vaccinated is an attempt to get closer to the 70% goal by July 4, set by President Biden.

It also comes at a time that the state is seeing an increase in the more contagious Delta variant.

The Delta variant was identified in India last year, and found in Mesa County last month.

According to the state health department, almost every new case of COVID in Mesa County is the more contagious variant, and almost two of every five cases statewide.

Only Missouri has a higher proportion of the Delta variant than Colorado.

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