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Gilpin County receives first shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

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Phase 1 for high-risk health care workers and first responders

By Cherokee Blake

Nearly 10 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, 100 doses of the FDA-approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 in Gilpin County. The County Public Health Department and the Emergency Operations Center worked diligently to develop the county-wide distribution plan following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

“Along with the rest of Colorado and the nation, we are now in Phase 1 of providing vaccines for the highest risk health care workers and first responders” explains Public Health Coordinator, Bonnie Albrecht. Public Health staff has contacted county departments and response partners to be ready to receive the vaccine.

The Moderna vaccination has a 95% effectiveness rate and requires two doses administered 28 days apart to be effective. Some temporary arm soreness, slight fever, and fatigue are expected with each dose. Says Coordinator Albrecht, “mild side effects from the vaccine are normal, this is your body’s way of fighting the virus with an immune response.”

Due to the limited supply and worldwide demand of the COVID-19 vaccine, Phase 2 is expected to take place in the Spring of 2021. Phase 3 for the general public is expected to take place in the Summer of 2021. CDPHE’s established phases can be viewed at – https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-forcoloradans.

As plans are finalized for each phase, County Public Health will contact members of the appropriate community sector to receive vaccinations, which will be offered at no cost. Notifications will be made via phone, email, newspaper announcements, virtual public meetings, website and social media postings. This timeline is subject to change based on the supply and distribution system.

Nathan Whittington, Gilpin County Emergency Manager, emphasized that the “larger community vaccination plan is being developed and will be ready to implement when the phase 2 & 3 vaccines are available.” The first vaccine was administered to Sheriff Kevin Armstrong and Black Hawk Chief of Police Michelle Moriarty on Monday, December 28, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. within the Gilpin County Public Health building.

CDPHE has launched a dashboard to track vaccination data at https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine. For frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq.

Until the majority of the population is vaccinated, the best way to keep our community healthy is to avoid in-person social gatherings and when in public, wear a mask and keep your distance from others.

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