PUEBLO — Tuesday has sparked confusion and frustration across the nation, especially in Pueblo, when it comes to those in Phase 1A and 1B getting their COVID-19 vaccine.
Monday's opening of the vaccination clinic at the Pueblo Mall resulted in miles of traffic and some 70-year-olds and older waiting in a line of cars for upwards of five hours. In an effort to prevent future backups, the Pueblo Health Department launched pueblovaxnow.com where people who are eligible at this time can sign up and be put on a waiting list that will notify you when it is your turn and where to go get your vaccine. However, some 70-year-olds and older do not have access or the ability to use computers.
In that case, the health department encourages you to call the hotline 719-583-4444 and enter extension 1. The line is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to the health department. When you are put through, someone will enter your information into pueblovaxnow.com and you will be waitlisted to get your vaccine. However, the health department says there have been wait times as long as 10 minutes due to heavy phone traffic on the line. They want to remind everyone that if you get a call from this number, it is not a scam.
According to the City of Pueblo, "only a dozen or so" people were turned away at the Pueblo Mall clinic Tuesday morning "for not having an appointment".
Pueblo Mall COVID-19 Vaccination Site Update: Traffic was light around the area this morning. Only a dozen or so were turned away for not having an appointment this morning. Thank you Pueblo for your patience.— City of Pueblo (@CityofPueblo) January 12, 2021
The Senior Resource Development Agency (SRDA) in Pueblo is offering extra help by working closely with the health department and offering to take down information of those eligible to get the vaccine and put them on the waiting list as well, by calling their 211 number. Deputy Director Tara Morrow says she understands why those 70+ are confused, saying “Some folks, they’re very comfortable using the technology... Then there’s others that really need to be able to access a phone or a different method”.
Today Kaiser Permanente also announced their own virtual vaccine sign-up that will be available throughout Colorado, including to people in Pueblo at the Pueblo North Medical Offices. Visit KP.org/covidvaccine to be put on the waiting list for your designated area.
"Keiser Permanente has worked really hard to create an easy system that is accessible to both Kaiser Permanente members and Kaiser Permanente non-members," said Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in Colorado Kelli Kane. Kane says they are able to vaccinate over 800 people per week at each clinic, depending on their supply of vaccines.
Both Kane and Morrow agreed that patience is needed going forward.
“Just hang in there, there’s enough to go around," said Morrow. "The process will get much more simple.” Kane reassured that “Everyone who wants a vaccine, will eventually get a vaccine".
The Pueblo Health Department confirmed that they did receive a new shipment of vaccines Tuesday but were not able to disclose how many.