NewsCovering Colorado

Actions

With more becoming eligible for vaccine, many over 70 still waiting

One El Paso County man had a hard time getting information after signing up
With more becoming eligible for vaccine, many over 70 still waiting
Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 21:03:01-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — With more people becoming eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine later this month, others who have already been eligible for one say they’re still waiting.

In El Paso County, if you want a vaccine, you have to sign up through a healthcare provider to put your name on the list.

But that’s not the case in many other counties, and for one man over 70, he says that’s making things too slow.

“The symbolism of walking into a dark room blindfolded and then taking your blindfold off and you don’t know where you are… I think that really fits the picture here,” said El Paso County Resident John Dougherty. “Once we found out that they had websites where you can go and sign up, we signed up.”

That was a month ago. Dougherty, who is over 75, put his name on lists with five different healthcare providers, hoping one of them might have an opening for him.

“I don’t know. From my perspective it just seems like they’re overwhelmed,” Dougherty said.

But with El Paso County having no public vaccination program--unlike counties like Pueblo--finding a provider was his only option.

Since he signed up, he hasn't gotten any updates.

“You just seem to be in an information vacuum,” he said. “What makes me angry is the fact that you’re just in a void. You don’t know anything about when you might get it, or if you might have to wait another month for it.”

When he heard Governor Polis’ announcement that the group eligible for the vaccine will be expanding to those 65 plus, it only raised more questions.

“That just kind of felt like a blow below the belt to me,” he said. “What justification does he have for lowering this grouping and expanding the group to those over 65, when there seems to be so many over 70 who haven’t gotten it yet?”

It’s a question News 5 took straight to governor polis himself Monday.

“We’ll be through the majority of 70 and up by the time it goes to 65 through 69, we’re a;ready at about half” Polis told News 5. “But the thin is you can’t wait until they’re all done because it slows up. We need more people than just the people 70 and up or we wont be able to administer all the vaccines we have.”

News 5 reached out to El Paso County Health to find out what they have to say to people like Dougherty who seem to be left in the dark. no one was available for comment, but a spokesperson gave us the following statement.

“It will take some patience,” the statement said. “We recognize that people are excited to get the vaccine, but it will take time and patience to get everyone vaccinated. Even after contacting a provider or signing up, it may take a few weeks before a vaccine is available.”

The spokesperson also said the county is working with providers to get some mass vaccination clinics going sometime this month.