MESA COUNTY, Colo.
The goal of Dr. Jeff Kuhr with Mesa County Public Health is to vaccinate 80% of individuals age 65 years old, and older in the county, and according to Kuhr this will have a huge impact on hospitalizations which he says is the true essence of flattening the curve. But, a lot of people in the 70 and up age bracket have been waiting up to a month to get the COVID-19 vaccination, and now, more vaccines are on the way to Coloradans by the tens of thousands which will ramp up the Mesa County vaccination rate. Dr. Kuhr says, “The wait time is only two weeks, it’s been as long as a month.”
A month is a short time to live, but a long time to wait especially, if you’ve ever had the Novel Coronavirus. 74-year-old Lee Kreidler just got the COVID shot, but it wasn’t soon enough. “It was the worst sore throat I’ve ever had. I had a sore throat, a cough, I never had a fever, body ache, and fatigue. The fatigue lasted quite a while. It lasted almost a month. The rest of the symptoms about ten days,” Kreidler said.
Kreidler caught COVID last November, but he’s one of the lucky ones because he survived, and he just got vaccinated while thousands of others in the county wait for their vaccine, while the state waits for the vaccine supply. “There are about 15,000 of the 21,000, 70 and over on that list,” Kuhr said.
The state is expected to get 90,000 more doses of the two shot vaccine with Johnson & Johnson’s one shot wonder on the way, which will double Mesa County’s vaccination efforts. Kuhr says, “If we can get as a state 200,000 doses a week. That would be great for us. Then we can start to get that 5,000 doses a week for Mesa County, utilize some of our partners, and I think we’ll make a big dent in the waiting list.”
But, the amount of vaccines may not even matter because a recent AP poll says 15% of American adults say they definitely won’t get the shot with 17% saying they probably won’t; which falls short from the 70% needed to achieve herd immunity from the virus that’s killed up to 470,000 Americans.
650 volunteers have administered 760 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, February 11 which is a slow day because the county is ready to administer over 1,000 a day, and they can do it too because the Boomers and Silent generations aren’t scared of vaccinations. Dr. Kuhr says 60% of individuals 65 years old in Mesa County get the flu vaccine each year, and Mr. Kreidler concurs. “I’ve had two pneumonia shots, I’ve had two shingle shots, three shingle shots. I get my flu shot every year, and I’m pretty darn healthy,” Kreidler said.
67% of Americans plan to get vaccinated or have already, according to the Associated Press, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease scientist says betwenn 70% and 85% of the U.S. population has to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity from the Coronavirus. Kreidler says, “The only way our country, and our lives get back to normal is by going out and doing what’s necessary to stop this disease.”
Right now Mesa County Public Health is serving who signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine on, or before January 29th, and MCPH has added a function on their website to make your life easier when signing up. Just type in your name or address, and you can find out exactly where you are on the list, and exactly when you’re scheduled to get the shot.