Pitkin County’s mass vaccination clinics to end next month

Local officials have administered 11,600 vaccine doses in the county

Amy Behrhorst, physicians assistant in employee health at Aspen Valley Hospital, talks with a person before administering the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Aspen on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Pitkin County will demobilize the weekly mass vaccination clinics its been holding in another month in favor of smaller, more accessible sites, an official said Thursday.

The last mass vaccination clinic will be held May 14, said Carly Senst, the county’s vaccination coordinator. In addition, at the end of April, the county will move the remaining clinics from the Benedict Music Tent parking lot to the Buttermilk Ski Area parking lot, she said.

The Buttermilk location is on the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus line, so it will be more convenient for some county residents.

The move to end the mass clinics comes amid a declining demand for vaccinations among Pitkin County residents, while it will also make vaccinations more convenient for those who could not make it to the mass clinics or did not know about them, Senst said. After May 14, vaccinations will likely be handled by primary care physicians, pharmacies and pop-up mobile clinics, she said.

In addition, public health officials plan to extend the Pfizer vaccine — the only one approved for 16 and 17 year olds — to those young adults through partnerships with schools, Senst said.

So far, Pitkin County has administered 11,600 vaccine doses, said Jordana Sabella, the county’s interim public health director. As of Friday’s mass vaccine clinic, 7,000 people will have been fully vaccinated in Pitkin County, she said. That includes a total of 4,500 Pitkin County residents. The rest are those who work in the county or are here for a long-term period of time.

Public health officials have noted a decline in people who sign up for two-dose vaccines like the Pfizer or Moderna versions, Sabella said. Appointments to receive the 1,000 one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines allocated to Pitkin County this week, however, filled in just 20 minutes, she said.

Public health officials have repeatedly said that all three U.S.-approved vaccines are safe and effective.

“The best vaccine you can get is the one offered to you at the time,” Sabella said.


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