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Colorado enters a new vaccine phase Friday; Here's how providers will handle the new rush

Phase 1B.4 is starting in Colorado. We asked providers how they feel about moving forward when people in earlier groups are still waiting on a COVID-19 vaccine.

DENVER — Friday, a huge group of Coloradans will become eligible for the COVID vaccine. It's an estimated total of 2.5 million people, the largest group to date.

Thursday, the doctors we talked to said people will be able to get in for appointments sooner than they might expect. They said they are feeling optimistic based on the vaccine supply and mass vaccination sites going up throughout the state.

Local health systems are encouraging people to sign up and take the vaccine as soon as it's available to them. And if you get a vaccine through one provider, you're asked to take yourself off other lists.

We talked to several health systems about how signing up for appointments will work, especially as people in previous groups still wait for their own vaccine.

SCL Health

SCL Health said by Friday afternoon, people eligible in 1.B.4. can start signing up online for appointments. They book one week out at a time, to make sure they are scheduling appointments that match the vaccine supply they receive. 

"There are a lot of people in 1.B.3. not vaccinated," said Jennifer Biltoft with SCL Health, "And 1.B.4. is opening. I think it makes sense we want to start giving opportunity as much as we can. There will probably be a lot more competition at play than the earlier phases." 

When people sign up online for phase 1.B.4. it's not just for that phase, but people from the previous phase can still sign up online, as well. 

"We do have a waitlist, our call center calls people down the list," said Biltoft. "Those are prioritized by tiers." 

Denver Health 

There are two paths at Denver Health. One is for Denver Health patients who are eligible, and might be able to get in a bit sooner through clinics, or if they are coming in for appointments. The health system will also reach out to Denver Health patients who are eligible. 

Community members can sign up as well, while Denver Health works through its waitlist from previous phases to get to 1.B.4. 

"That process is going to be accelerating as the vaccine supply increases," said Dr. Simon Hambidge, with Denver Health. 

Denver Health patients add up to 175,000 people. 

UCHealth 

Dr. Michelle Barron said once eligible people sign up in the system, they go through a randomized process when it comes to getting appointments. 

Of course, this is depending on vaccine supply. 

People in 1.B.4 will be able to sign up along with those from previous phases who have not been able to get an appointment yet. 

HealthOne: 

HealthOne shared this statement that reads, in part: 

"HealthONE is committed to providing COVID-19 vaccinations to the community based on the State of Colorado tiering system and vaccine availability.  Our efforts have closely adhered to those guidelines and we continue to provide vaccines to individuals through random selection from those that meet guidelines and have registered on our website or through our phone line.  

In accordance with the State and CDPHE guidelines, individuals may complete our COVID-19 vaccine request form to sign up to receive additional information and instructions about scheduling an appointment at any one of our HealthONE COVID-19 vaccination clinics. If individuals do not have access to email or need additional assistance, please call (720) 650-8274. Instructions will be provided to leave a message with full name, date of birth and phone number. Names will be randomly selected from the full database of tiers resulting from online and call-in wait lists. When a name is selected, the individual will receive an email or a call when it is time to schedule a vaccine. Due to the very limited supply of vaccine we are receiving, an appointment is required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at participating HealthONE facilities – walk-up vaccinations are not available."

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