COVID vaccine availability for Colorado food and ag workers
Gov. Jared Polis, Brigadier General Scott Sherman and Scott Bookman, incident commander with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provided a much anticipated announcement that the state will enter Phase 1B.3 of vaccine distribution beginning Friday, March 5.
As you are likely aware, Phase 1B.3 includes Colorado’s frontline essential workers in food and agriculture — approximately 220,000 individuals statewide. The phase will continue over many weeks and will be dependent on variables including vaccine supply and local county health procedures.
The governor’s office, CDPHE, CDA, and the Colorado Vaccine Equity Outreach Team are working in close partnership to ensure the successful vaccination of Colorado’s food and ag workers.
Several webinar events with state vaccine experts are being planned to help answer questions. Watch for information coming soon with dates, times and how to join.
Here are some important takeaways from last week’s press conference:
Eligible businesses/entities representing frontline essential workers who need assistance connecting with a COVID-19 vaccine provider or making a COVID-19 vaccination plan for their employees or members can get help by completing a form.
This presentation was included, with information on vaccine supply estimations, vaccination sites, procedures and more.
While vaccination is voluntary, COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe, highly effective and the key to helping our industry and the world to recover from the pandemic. In addition:
The vaccine is free. If an individual is asked to provide financial information it is a scam.
Insurance status will not be used to deny or deprioritize any patient from getting the vaccine.
Providers may ask, but they cannot require an individual to provide state-issued or other government-issued ID as a condition to receiving the vaccine.
This CDC Employer Vaccination Toolkit for essential workers can help communicate with your employees about the vaccine.
A large number of vaccine-related FAQs are answered at https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq.
For the most up-to-date and comprehensive vaccine information, visit the Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine website, or call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).
It is incredibly encouraging to have arrived at this day. Our agriculture industry has remained resilient and determined for the past year, and I am confident we will come back stronger than ever. Please reach out with questions, and we will do our best to get answers for you.
Nearly a month ago, Gov. Polis announced that the state would begin vaccinating Coloradans in Phase 1B.3 starting in March. Given what the state knows about our vaccine supply, we will be moving forward with these vaccinations in a phased approach that maximizes the doses available and provides access to those who continue to be at risk.
Starting March 5, 2021, Phase 1B.3 will include:
People age 60 and older
Frontline essential workers in grocery and agriculture
People 16-59 with two or more high risk conditions
To see the full list of classifications for Coloradans eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B.3, go to https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I07edwDcS89ZZ0Mu0Yqo7FW465QzQmlt/view.
There are approximately 958,508 Coloradans that are newly eligible for vaccination in the 1B.3 category, so it’s going to take some time before everyone can get their vaccine. For some Coloradans in 1B.3, it could be this week, for others it could be in a few weeks, or even a month, but patience is key to ensuring this phase happens smoothly and efficiently.
The state will provide more detailed information on how eligible Coloradans in Phase 1B.3 can sign up to receive the vaccine. Please find preliminary guidance below:
People age 60 or older
If you are 60 or older, you may contact a local vaccine provider listed at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/where-can-i-get-vaccinated#70 about setting up a vaccine appointment. For more information you may call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By mid March, regional PODs can be utilized by this group to receive their vaccine.
Frontline essential agricultural and grocery store workers
People in agriculture or meatpacking facilities who work in close contact with many people, especially indoors, may contact their employer about scheduling a vaccine appointment. Cargill Meat Solutions and JBS meat packing plants will be vaccinating their facility employees. If your employer is not offering vaccinations, you may contact a local vaccine provider listed at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/where-can-i-get-vaccinated#70. You may be asked to provide a recent pay stub to verify you are in this phase.
Frontline essential grocery store workers
People who work in grocery stores in close contact with others may schedule a vaccine appointment through their store’s pharmacy. If you work in a grocery store that does not have a pharmacy, you may contact your local public health agency about scheduling a vaccine appointment. You may be asked to provide a recent pay stub to verify you are in this phase. Contact information for each county’s public health agency is listed at https://cdphe.colorado.gov/public-information/find-your-local-public-health-agency.
People age 16-59 with two or more high risk conditions
You will be asked to self-attest that you have at least two high risk conditions. People with two or more high risk conditions may contact a local vaccine provider listed on at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/where-can-i-get-vaccinated#70 to find out more about scheduling a vaccine appointment. For more information you may call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By mid March, regional Community Vaccination Sites can be utilized by this group to receive their vaccine.
This is one of the largest undertakings that any state — any country — has ever tackled, and getting to where we are today has been no small feat. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before we are through the immediate public health crisis and we cannot let our guard down when it comes to battling this pandemic.
Vaccines are the key to a future without this pandemic. The last year has been challenging, but with each step of the way, Coloradans have shown grit and perseverance. And now, as we are in the final stretch of this public health crisis, Gov. Polis asks that we not lose focus now.
The journey is not over, the race is not yet won.
Until the vaccine is widely available, we all need to continue to follow critical public health guidance. Prevention methods still include:
Wearing a mask in public
Maintaining at least 6 feet physical distance from others not in our household
Avoiding large crowds
Washing our hands often
Staying home when we are sick
Stay safe and be well, Colorado.
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