Grand County Public Health received its first shipment of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday afternoon. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which requires storage in extreme cold temperatures, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in temperatures ranging from -13°F and 5°F, making it suitable for most rural locations, such as Grand County.
On Wednesday morning, Grand County Public Health Director Brene Belew-LaDue administered the first dose of the vaccine to Medical Director Darcy Selenke as part of the Phase 1A rollout. A second dose of the vaccine will be administered in 28 days.
Selenke said, “This is a historic moment for each and everyone of us. It is an honor that they chose me. We are one step closer to getting back into the world that we want to live in. Most of us have not spent quality time with family and friends since the initial shut down. I am looking forward to enjoying life again.”
Deputy Director of Grand County Public Health Abbie Baker said, “Grand county received 400 doses in our initial shipment.” The Grand County Public Health department received 100 doses to administer to front line healthcare staff and Grand County assisted living residents. Middle Park Health received 300 doses. Baker said, “Our goal is to administer this first batch today and tomorrow.”
Phase 1A rolls out the vaccine to the highest risk health care workers and individuals. Those who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or longer in a 24-hour period, and long-term care facility staff and residents.
As more of the vaccine is rolled out, the next Phases (1B & 1C) will cover those in moderate-risk categories, such as health care workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients, workers in home health, hospice and dental settings and first responders (e.g., EMS, firefighters, police, dispatchers).
By spring 2021, higher risk individuals and essential workers will next receive the vaccine under Phase 2. The list includes people aged 65 and older; those with chronic health conditions; front line workers (grocery store, school staff); people who work, live and serve in high density settings; other health care workers not covered in Phase 1; and adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.
The rest of us, ages 18-64, will have to wait until summer 2021 to receive the vaccine.
Since the end of November, COVID-19 numbers have been dropping in Grand County. The latest report shows 93 cases reported in the previous two-week period – about half the number of cases reported in late November.
Since March, a total of 614 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Grand County. So while we still need to practice preventive measures of washing hands, wearing a mask and keeping a distance of 6’ or greater, we can hope that, by summer, we will be making strides in getting our lives back somewhat to normal.
For the latest numbers, visit co.grand.co.us/covid19.