As we begin the 1B.3 vaccination phase, Valley-Wide Health Systems is looking back at the past year of coronavirus response and ahead at the future of this pandemic. There’s no doubt that the past 12 months have been hard on our communities, our patients and our staff. However, at the same time, there are many milestones and successes to celebrate.

Early in the pandemic, our staff learned to be flexible as the changing situation forced us to adjust our daily processes. Valley-Wide concentrated on ensuring our patients were safely provided for – doing our best to keep our dental clinics open for emergency patients and our medical clinics open for urgent needs and those with chronic illnesses, despite the global Personal Protective Equipment shortage. Our support staff created a triage line for people who thought they might have COVID-19 symptoms. Our facilities maintenance staff made hundreds of cloth masks in between their normal projects.

When testing became available in communities, we adjusted once again to ensure that potential COVID-19 patients had access to care that kept both themselves and our other patients and staff safe. To date, Valley-Wide Health Systems has administered more than 8,000 COVID-19 tests.

Although we waited anxiously for news of a vaccine becoming available to the public, our first vaccine clinic was a surprise to us as well as the public. We received a phone call on New Year’s Eve — when many of our staff were getting our offices ready to be closed on the holiday — telling us we’d be receiving vaccine doses. We needed to hold our first clinic as soon as possible. Our staff worked quickly to schedule a mass vaccination event that Sunday, January 3, where we vaccinated 232 people.

As of this writing, Valley-Wide Health Systems has now administered 6,425 vaccine doses. We were thrilled when Governor Polis announced recently that 70% of all Coloradoans aged 70 or older had been vaccinated and proud to be part of that effort. With the opening of Phase 1B.3, we’re gearing up to provide thousands of more doses. We can’t wait to see Colorado reach a point when the lives of our patients and our communities can open up once again.

Where can I go to get a

vaccine?

Valley-Wide Health Systems has vaccine events in all three of our regions, the San Luis Valley and the Upper and Lower Arkansas Valley. To find the most convenient event for you, schedule an appointment by visiting our website at vwhs.org, click the orange “COVID vaccine appointments” button at the top right of the page or call (719) 587-9610. Help Valley-Wide stop the spread.

Evelyn Wiant

Valley-Wide Health Systems

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