WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Colorado took a major step in the fight against COVID-19 January 6 as front line health care workers began receiving their second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rocky Mountain PBS spoke with health care workers at Centura Health after they received their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, which gives them greater immunity against a virus that has killed more than 360,000 Americans.
One of the doctors we spoke with was Dr. Gregory Fauteux, an anesthesiologist. He knows just how vicious the virus can be.
“COVID has touched me personally as well as professionally,” Dr. Fauteux said. “My father died of COVID on November 22 of 2020.”
He said “here’s to dad” as he received his shot. His father was 81 years old when he passed away.
Hospital workers get second dose of COVID vaccine
Centura Health began administering the second round of COVID-19 vaccines.
“One of the true tragedies is that there are over 350,000 people just like him—someone’s father, someone’s brother, someone’s mother, someone’s daughter—and we just need to take it seriously,” Fauteux said.
As of January 6, more than 5,000 Coloradans have died after contracting COVID-19.
Fauteux encouraged everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.
“I would hope that our community has no hesitation at all about being vaccinated,” Fauteux said. “COVID is very, very real...certainly vaccination is one of the most important things that we can do to hopefully move towards ending this pandemic.”
When the vaccine was first made available in mid-December, a spokesperson for Centura Health, Lindsay Radford, said 92% of physicians and 66% of their health care workers overall would get the vaccine.
Centura Health is not requiring hospital workers to get the vaccine, nor is the state of Colorado.
For those who are eager to get vaccinated, Centura Health COVID-19 Physician Leader Dr. Andrew French urged patience.
“While there’s a lot of excitement—as there should be—around receiving the vaccine, please know that we are working our way through all of the phases and all of the tiering systems proposed by the state and by the governor,” French said. “And we will be getting to people in a very timely fashion.”
As of January 7, nearly 130,000 Coloradans have received one dose of the vaccine. More data is available here.
Colorado is currently in Phase 1A of the vaccination distribution plan. In this phase, front line health care workers with exposure to COVID-19 patients are first in line to receive the vaccine, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
Governor Polis said the state hopes to reach Phase 1B by January 15. In Phase 1B, Coloradans 70 and older will start being vaccinated.
Here is more information on where Coloradans 70 and up can register to get the vaccine. The Colorado Department of Public Health and environment aims to get 70% of the 70 and older population vaccinated by the end of February.
Also included in Phase 1B are essential workers like educators, grocery store employees, mail workers, and people who provide care to Coloradans experiencing homelessness. See more below.