DENVER — Many venues, including Dicks Sporting Goods Park and Water World, were among the first to come to the aid of thousands of people at the height of the pandemic. On Thursday, both sites, along with other major COVID-19 vaccination sites, will be closed.
“We feel well prepared for this transition,” said Diana Herrero, assistant director for disease control and public health response at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
The state health department says it’s part of the governor’s roadmap moving forward.
“We have almost 82% of eligible Coloradans who have had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and we’re just in a different place where we have broader immunity,” Herrero said.
Although state health officials say accessibility won’t be affected by the removal of these sites, CU Anschutz’s Dr. Ross Kedl fears a reduction too rapid.
“It could be argued that over time, [COVID-19 vaccines] could become much more limited and access would be more through insurance or other forms of payment. We are certainly not there yet,” said Dr Ross Kedl. “Access and distribution of vaccines is therefore always essential to ensure that this does not recede into the background.
The Tri-County Health Department has many state-run sites in its area and says it has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of people using them.
“We are seeing just over about 300 people vaccinated per week at these large community sites. So this is a significant reduction from the thousands we were seeing several months ago,” said Michele Askenazi, director of emergency preparedness and communicable disease surveillance for Tri-County Health. .
Although large sites are disappearing, Askenazi says she is confident access will not be affected.
“As we continue to move towards this more sustainable model, the work is not done and we know more needs to be done and ensuring it is accessible to our communities,” Askenazi said. “We are looking at other strategies to still have access to mobile vaccination clinics where we can go to some of our hardest to reach communities.”
If necessary, the state says it could bring all major vaccination sites back online in about a month.
The state health department says nearly 2,000 vaccination clinics are still enrolled in the vaccination program.
Community testing sites will remain open for the next two months across the state, as will state vaccine buses.