JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Frustrations that have been boiling over recently came to a head over the weekend in Jefferson and Gilpin counties.
The executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, Dr. Dawn Comstock, had to shut down several of mobile vaccine clinics after one driver ran over their sign, others screamed profanities at the vaccine staff and one driver even threw water on a nurse.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t new,” Comstock said. “We’ve had someone throw live fireworks. We’ve had someone drive up onto a curb toward a vaccination staff member.
Comstock says she’s fed up.
“I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion. What I do not respect is violence and contempt and acting abusively toward Jefferson County Public Health staff,” Comstock said.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Wednesday saying, in part, that it is “aware of instances of bad behavior.”
The statement goes on to say the sheriff’s office has increased patrols around the sites, “however, our investigations have not resulted in criminal charges. We will continue to investigate any threats brought to our attention and will file appropriate charges against individuals involved in criminal activity.”
Comstock says she’s seen enough.
“I’m tired of being polite and calling it misinformation,” Comstock said. “It is lies, and those lies are contributing to continued loss and suffering in our community.”
Cara Bradbury, the executive director of Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, said the work alone is already "emotionally taxing" for health care workers, but the added divisiveness has made it even worse.
"It's very distressing when you feel like your whole aim was to make your community stronger and better and you have folks in your community who don't see the value in your community or what you're doing."