First vaccines to arrive at Aspen Valley Hospital on Wednesday |

First vaccines to arrive at Aspen Valley Hospital on Wednesday

COVID-19 tester Sawyer Shook, 19, assists people with their tests Monday at the cell phone lot at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. There were 130 appointments scheduled before the testing site closed at 2 p.m. Starting Monday, all visitors coming into the county had to complete an online affidavit saying they have been symptom free for 10 days and have received a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Aspen Valley Hospital is expecting to receive the upper Roaring Fork Valley’s first 100 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for its staff Wednesday afternoon, hospital officials said Monday.

As designated by state public health officials, hospital staff who deal directly with COVID-19 patients will be the first to receive the vaccine beginning Thursday afternoon, said Jennifer Slaughter, AVH chief marketing officer.

“All 100 doses will be administered on Thursday and Friday of this week,” Slaughter said Monday in an email to The Aspen Times.

The plan is fluid and could change depending on circumstances, she said.

During an AVH board meeting Monday night, the hospital’s chief clinical officer Lori Maloy said numerous people have been involved in the planning process.

“It’s been quite onerous trying to plan for something that you don’t know exactly when it’s coming or how many you’re going to get,” she said. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls at the hospital (from community members). The hospital will be providing vaccines to our staff and physicians who work at the hospital.”

She added Pitkin County’s community health department will be providing to vaccines and updates to the general public and others in the coming months.

The “Phase 1A” of Colorado’s vaccination program will also include residents and staff of Whitcomb Terrace, the county’s assisted-living facility.

The state of Colorado received the first shipment of the vaccine — from which Pitkin County’s share will come — Monday morning at the state public health department’s lab in Denver, according to an update from Gov. Jared Polis. Front-line health care workers in Fort Collins received the first doses in the state Monday afternoon.

Deliveries to the first 21 vaccine shipment locations across the state — those with ultra-cold storage capability — will begin Tuesday and Wednesday, the governor’s office stated. The document included a list of the 21 sites, which included the 100 for AVH as well as 215 designated for Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and 875 for Vail Health Hospital in Eagle County.

Polis urged hospitals to administer the vaccine within 72 hours of receiving it, a a news release states.

The list also says AVH will be allocated 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available, and Maloy confirmed that Monday night. Valley View is set to receive 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, while Vail Health will be allocated 800 doses of it, according to the governor’s news release.

State officials said Monday approximately 1 in 40 Coloradans are contagious with COVID-19.

Aspen Valley Hospital CEO David Ressler said during Monday’s board meeting that people who are concerned about the vaccine should not worry, and he tried to dispel rumors circulating about its safety.

“It’s important to note our physicians and staff are the first ones to line up for this because they know … that it is safe and effective. There is misinformation spreading around out there on social media and other platforms suggesting otherwise,” Ressler said. “This is a vaccine that health care professionals who we surveyed overwhelmingly indicated that they would receive it when it’s available. We just want to assure the community that if your trusted health care professionals trust this vaccine, you should as well.”

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