San Miguel County is moving right along in Phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccinations. Lindsey Mills, San Miguel County public information consultant, told The Norwood Post that vaccines are not distributed by population density of communities in the county. She said the vaccines are given throughout San Miguel County, according to the phased schedule.

She said the first round went to medical providers, EMTs and those in closest contact with the general public. She said preference was given to the medical centers in the county, though law enforcement and firefighters also were given the vaccine.

The first 400 Moderna doses were completed by last week, with another 200 doses to be distributed this week.

Mills said the county was still waiting on approval from the state to make Uncompahgre Medical Center in Norwood a distribution site. She said officials from the county’s public health department have gone to Norwood and distributed the shots there. Anyone in Norwood who fell under the Phase 1 umbrella, and who opted to receive the shot did so last week. Mills said some qualified for the vaccine in Phase 1 but wanted to wait a week. She agreed some folks might have wanted to witness potential side effects before getting it themselves. She said others simply didn’t have time last week.

There were 480 county residents listed in Phase 1; 400 of those were vaccinated. On Wright's Mesa, 30 health care workers and first-responders opted in to be vaccinated.

She said side effects reports in San Miguel County are very mild, including sore arms, which lasts a day or so. She added nobody in the county has had an anaphylactic reaction.

When asked if she thought the county was receiving more vaccines than other counties, Mills said she didn’t believe that was the case. She added, however, that county officials did not expect to get as many doses as they’ve been receiving.  

Last week, Mills was busy reviewing information released by the state after Governor Jared Polis lowered the age requirement for Phase 1B. Now, folks 70 years and older have been moved up to be vaccinated more quickly. Previously the age requirement for Phase 1B was 75.

Mills said the change was “a bit of a deviation from CDC guidelines.” Still, she said she understood the change because of the mortality rates the state has seen in the elderly population.

“He wants to reduce hospital strain and the chance of death,” she told The Norwood Post.

She agreed there was a significant elderly population in Norwood. She said she was happy the county could get those 70 and older vaccinated more quickly, especially since some people have been mostly homebound during the pandemic to avoid getting sick.

“Their immunity happening soonest is something to be applauded,” she said.

With another 200 doses to be given out this week in the county for Phase 1B, other eligible recipients include those who work in education, public transit, grocery stores, the U.S. Post Office and more.

Mills said she was proud of the folks working to distribute the doses, especially during the holiday season. As of this week, 600 doses should be complete in San Miguel County. Mills added the county can’t move to Phase 2 until all counties in Colorado have completed Phase 1.