Pitkin County’s vaccinations schedule unclear with new guidelines

Vaccinations for Pitkin County residents 70 years old and up could take until the end of February, though new federal guidelines lowering that age to 65 means it could take longer, an official said Tuesday.

County Manager Jon Peacock said local and state public health officials have set the end of February as a goal to vaccinate all state residents in that age group. However, the Trump administration’s Tuesday announcement calling for residents 65 years old and up to be included in early vaccinations could cloud that goal, he said.

“It will take us longer … to get to the next level” if the state incorporates those new guidelines, Peacock told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday during their regular weekly work session.

About 2,600 residents aged 70 and older have pre-registered for the vaccine on the county’s COVID-19 website. If residents 65 and older are included, Census figures indicate about 3,500 Pitkin County residents will need to be vaccinated before moving on to the next vaccination phase, he said.

Tuesday night, Gov. Jared Polis said the state will, for the time being, continue with the vaccination schedule that envisions having residents 70 years and older vaccinated by Feb. 28, according to news release. State officials will take the new guidelines under review while also checking with the incoming Biden administration to see how it plans to approach “prioritization and supply flow,” the release states.

“Colorado will not be making any changes to our vaccine program until we can get concrete details on supply quantities, timelines for receiving that supply” and time to consult with local partners administering the vaccine, the release states.

The state of Colorado’s reaction to the Trump administrations call for U.S. residents 65 and older to be vaccinated first was not yet clear Tuesday, Peacock said.

Pitkin County is scheduled to receive 1,100 vaccination doses Tuesday or Wednesday, and will begin inoculating the first residents 70 and older Thursday or Friday, he said.

The next group of residents to be vaccinated after the age groups are front-line workers, which is a large number of people. County officials are in the process of developing a prioritization list of those workers to come up with a consensus on who will go first, Peacock said.

Commissioners Kelly McNicholas Kury and Francie Jacober, attending her first meeting as a commissioner, both advocated for the valley’s Latino population to be included early in those vaccinations.

Jacober sworn in to office

After 12 years and three terms as a Pitkin County commissioner, George Newman retired from the board Tuesday and was replaced by Francie Jacober.

Newman was toasted Tuesday during an hourlong tribute on Zoom by his board colleagues before Jacober was sworn in to office by Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely.

Jacober, a Carbondale resident and retired teacher, takes over the District 5 seat on the five-member board.

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