PUEBLO — UPDATE: The clinic was canceled on Tuesday, February 23, because the shipment of vaccines was delayed due to the weather. All appointments on Tuesday had to be canceled. Wednesday is still scheduled to proceed.
The Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association (SCHRA) was approved by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to become a COVID-19 vaccination site as a community based organization. Now, they will be hosting a clinic where the goal is to administer 1,000 vaccines on February 23 and 24.
The Co-Founder and Executive Director of SCHRA, Judy Solano, said they partnered with NeighborWorks to make this clinic a reality. In addition to being actual neighbors with SCHRA, NeighborWorks' mission is to promote healthy neighborhoods and serve as a first choice for home buyer resources.
NeighborWorks will allow SCHRA to use their conference room for the two-day COVID-19 vaccination clinic. "I feel very proud. I'm happy to be bringing this opportunity to this part of our community, where it's needed," said Ashleigh Winans, the CEO of NeighborWorks.
Solano said SCHRA is hoping to prioritize vulnerable populations and minority groups, while still adhering to state guidelines. To schedule an appointment, you must be in one of the vaccination categories currently accepted by the state (Phase 1, 1B.1, and 1B.2). Eligible groups include people over the age of 65, educators, health care workers, first responders, and school staff.
"I wanted to do my part. And especially in a community like the one we're living in, here in the Bessemer neighborhood, we want to make sure that our neighbors who may not be able to access their providers, or drive-in clinics, that they would be able to come and do this on-site," said Solano.
To schedule an appointment at the clinic, call SCHRA at (719)289-7149. Solano said they will ask what category a caller falls into, and then will give them an hour increment somewhere between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on either Tuesday or Wednesday to be at NeighborWorks.
Solano said she has been advocating for people living on the street to receive vaccinations with the state health department. She hopes homeless individuals will be included in the next group. "The homeless population, they're everywhere in our community. And so, they're often dealing with medical conditions as well... That is a very difficult population to capture. Organizations like Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association are really at the forefront of that," said Solano.
At this two-day clinic, all 1,000 of the vaccines must be used. Solano said they will create an overflow list, designed to help underserved communities, like minority groups or those lacking access to resources. Solano also said the overflow list can be used for people living on the streets. "The most vulnerable are those that do not have access to health care. And that outreach, that infrastructure, is just not there. So, we need to be able to outreach to those groups of folks and to be able to vaccinate them," said Solano.
The overflow list will be conducted on a first come, first serve basis. Those on the list will be contacted late in the day, and should be ready to go to NeighborWorks on short notice.
"Hopefully, this won't be the last clinic that we do, but it is definitely the first. It's been an interesting process, but we're doing what we can to help our community, help Pueblo get vaccinated. And to get well, and get out of this horrible pandemic that we've all been living in for the past year," said Solano.