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COVID vaccine delivery simulation deemed success in Colorado despite Kentucky mix-up

In preparation to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, Colorado recently took part in a simulation with the CDC, but part of the product ended up going to Kentucky.

DENVER — A COVID-19 vaccine delivery simulation was deemed a success in Colorado despite half of what the state was expecting to receive going to a different state.

In preparation to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, Colorado took part in a simulation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC was supposed to send Colorado a thermal shipper that would normally have chilled vaccine inside, as well as an ancillary kit, the tools needed to administer the vaccine. Colorado received the thermal shipper, but the ancillary kit with syringes, needles, alcohol prep pads, surgical masks, face shields and COVID-19 vaccination cards ended up in Kentucky.

Still, the state put out a news release with the headline: "Vaccine readiness test had shipment error but simulation was completed and successful."

How was it successful without receiving everything from the CDC?

"That's the nature of an exercise, right? We're trying to find out what happens when we do it. If there are areas that can break, areas that things go wrong," said Kevin Klein, Colorado's Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "Whether that's a success or not? You know, from an exercise perspective, they learned that there's a possibility for error and they've got to fix that."

The state considered it successful because the thermal shipper that would contain the vaccine arrived. The ancillary kit contained items the state already has.

"I just want to make sure that you understand it was one box we didn't get," said Klein. "We are making sure that we have redundancy built in. While they are telling us they are going to ship the ancillary equipment for doing the administration, we are also purchasing our own to make sure that we have some in reserve in case we need to do that."

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The state's Department of Emergency Management is planning its own simulation next week.

"Tuesday we're going to do an exercise to deliver a vaccine up in Vail. We're going to do a transportation exercise," said Klein.

The simulation is to make sure that the delivery of the vaccine between state and local authorities can be done successfully.

The state is not doing another simulation with the CDC.

"The CDC is doing a second trial of this. Colorado is just not one of the states," said Klein.

"The CDC has said that they will not run a national public confidence campaign for this vaccine. The Feds have let the states take the lead, so it's incumbent on the state, and advocates like me, to reach out to folks to set the record straight about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines," said Jake Williams, Executive Director of Healthier Colorado.

Healthier Colorado, with the help of conservative-leaning Magellan Strategies and liberal-leaning Keating Research, conducted a survey of 1,008 Colorado voters between Nov. 18 and Nov. 24, asking the likelihood they would take a COVID-19 vaccine.

The question was worded: "When [a Food and Drug Administration]-approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus/COVID-19 is available and at no cost to you, do you plan to receive the vaccine?"

  • 60% said they plan on receiving the vaccine
  • 21% said they do not plan on receiving the vaccine
  • 19% were unsure

"We got to be transparent about the process that led to the approval of these vaccines, number one. And number two, we need to make sure we mobilize voices that people trust," said Williams.

The survey also oversampled African American and Hispanic voters.

"You look further, and you'll see that black Coloradans, only 52% will take it. They've experienced a lot of injustice when it comes to the medical system. Latinx Coloradans, that's 56%, again well short," said Williams. "There's many subgroups that we need to tailor messages to that are, again one; transparent, and two; come from people they trust."

"It's how we're going to open up, it's how we're going to protect the most vulnerable. And we will do our best to get the word out," said Klein.

Klein admitted he is part of the Moderna clinical trial. He received two shots, and doesn't yet know if he was given a vaccine or a placebo.

"We're leading by example, and I'm one of them. I participated in one of the clinical trials to actually see if the vaccine works," said Klein. "I'm one that wants to make sure that people understand that I'm confident in the safety in it."

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