COLORADO SPRINGS — As we work to rebound from the effects of the pandemic, we know a lot of you have questions about vaccines and I took some of your questions straight to our state’s leader.
“You can just show up and you’ll get one and we’re really excited about that,” Governor Polis said.
Governor Jared Polis touted the mass vaccination site at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo as the first walk-up site in the state. FEMA is operating it and about a dozen others across the country. It helps bring more vaccine supply to Colorado because, with it, the federal government is supplying 22,000 vaccines each week. Fort Carson soldiers are helping administer vaccines at the FEMA site.
“We’re able to do thousands a day at these large sites,” Polis said, “It’s so easy. I hear from everybody- I went there and was home in 15-20 minutes.”
I asked him about Doctor Moma’s clinic in Colorado Springs. 4,000 people have to get revaccinated because the state health department said the vaccines weren’t being stored properly.
“They, like others (other clinics), self-certified they were doing the techniques,” Polis said, “saying ‘we are doing proper storage’ and everything else. It turned out they weren’t and thankfully we caught that.”
He said on top of the large vaccine clinics and pharmacies they’ve partnered with 1,400 sites, including 180 equity clinics, across the state to help provide more convenience. Polis said state health inspectors work full-time but they can’t be everywhere at once.
“2 million Coloradans have gotten their vaccine already, which is amazing. With an operation that large there’s bound to be issues. I’m glad the inspectors with CDPHE caught the issue,” Polis said.
“Are you encouraging people, if they notice something, to come forward because you guys can’t be everywhere at every moment,” I asked. “Absolutely,” Polis said.
As for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine that has been put on pause by the CDC and FDA to investigate rare side effects, he said if it were up to him, he’d keep J & J available.
“1 in 600 Americans who were alive at the beginning of the year last year have died from the virus. Here, we’re talking about a 1 in a million side effect that’s usually treatable, frankly, if they diagnose it correctly,” Polis said.
I asked, “With that one, it was 18-year-old to 48-year-old women (affected), so I was wondering out of those 7 million who fits that group, but I guess that’s what they’re researching right now and we can figure out those numbers. Because I’m wondering if it is one in a million.”
Polis replied, “Your guess is as good as mine whether they open it up to everybody, or if they say it’s just men for J & J, or say it’s older women and men. We’ll be following the FDA and CDC.”
He believes the public is confident in the vaccine, but still, thousands of appointments are open.
“I think it's because people don’t know they’re available. I think they got this buzz a week or two ago that ‘I can’t get it. It will probably be May.’ And guess what? We have plenty of spots available,” Polis said.
The Broadmoor World Arena has thousands of slots open right now. He said with hospitalizations growing we need to keep wearing masks and get vaccinated and they’re working to make it as easy as possible.
He said they’d like to get 70 to 80 percent of the state population vaccinated and said if we remain vigilant right now he’s optimistic this will be the last month or two until we’re at the finish line for all the restrictions and guidelines we have had.
The mass vaccination site in Pueblo is currently open 7 days a week 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You can watch my full interview where we discuss vaccinations with kids and requirements for schools above.
If you'd like to get an appointment for the site at the Broadmoor World Arena head to centura.org/vaccine or click here.