DENVER — Remember the days when we’d spend hours searching for a vaccine appointment online? Or call all our friends trying to help each other find one?
Just last month, that was the reality. But those days may be behind us now. It’s easier to get a vaccine today than at any other time in the pandemic.
For the first time since the pandemic began, the supply of vaccines is beginning to outpace the number of people signing up for appointments.
"I would definitely say that supply is no longer the limiting factor for us," said Jennifer Davis, System Director of Pharmacy Services for SCL Health. "The limiting factor is getting people to the places where they can get the vaccine and making sure everyone is excited about getting the vaccine.
"Because so many people have already been vaccinated, we do have open appointments really widely across the state."
Davis said people can get an appointment any day they choose on the SCL website.
Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) also announced Tuesday that anyone who wants a vaccine can get one without an appointment at several mass vaccination sites around the state.
More than 40% of eligible adults in Colorado have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 25% are fully vaccinated. With open vaccine appointments beginning to go unfilled, the challenge is now convincing the remaining group of people in the state who haven’t gotten a vaccine that it’s time to get it.
"We’ve got to make it easy, we know that we have to get to that point where we’re making it very easy, we’re going to vaccinate people where they are going," said Bob McDonald, the director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE).
"Really what’s going to get us out of the woods and put a final closure to this pandemic is that resistant group. Either resistant to the vaccine because they think it’s unsafe or resistant to it because they think they don’t need it."
In Pitkin County, the area's large vaccination site was closed this month because not enough people were signing up for appointments. More than 50% of eligible people in the county have already been vaccinated. The strategy now is to make it as easy as possible for people to get the shot.
As the emphasis now shifts to convincing the remaining group of people to get the vaccine, we can expect to see more mobile vaccination sites and walk up clinics that don’t require appointments.
Again: the goal is to make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated.
"We were really starting to see in Pitkin County a drop off in people scheduling appointments," said Tracy Trulove, the public information officer for Pitkin County. "When the clinic started early, appointments would fill up in 15 minutes.
"Maybe it’s expanding the hours to be different. Maybe it’s adding more weekend days than we had originally. There’s still going to be places to get the vaccine."
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