Dr. Sharon Grundy to High-Risk Individuals and Essential Workers: We Won’t Leave Anyone Behind

Dr. Sharon Grundy isn’t sleeping very well these days. She knows she’s not alone and that many in the community have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I need everyone to know, we are in this together and we will not leave anyone behind.”

Tomorrow high risk healthcare providers at the Telluride Regional Medical Center will be among the first to receive the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Telluride Medical Center, Uncompahgre Medical Center and San Miguel County Public Health are assessing new CDC recommendations released this week regarding how to roll out vaccinations.

Dr. Grundy estimates that distributing COVID-19 vaccines to first responders and healthcare providers will be completed within three weeks, “so long as subsequent vaccine shipments continue to arrive as planned.”

The phased approach to vaccine distribution, which will take months, has the goal of saving as many lives as possible while ending the crisis brought on by the pandemic as quickly as possible.

“These first distributions are meant to vaccinate first responders and healthcare providers to protect our ability to safely provide essential care to the general public,” said Dr. Grundy.

This national approach to distribution aims not only to keep healthcare providers from getting sick with COVID-19, but also to keep them in the workforce and out of quarantine.

“When we hear that state and regional hospitals are at capacity, often that has less to do with patient caseloads and more to do with diminished staff, who like everyone, must quarantine if they’re identified as a close contact of someone confirmed to have COVID-19.”

The next round of vaccine distribution to reach the most vulnerable population and other essential workers is expected to begin soon.

“We’re going to continue to look at the best interest for our rural community and will be considering the most vulnerable to COVID-19 complications, mental health and the workforce, as we move ahead,” said Dr. Grundy.

The community can expect more information and an update with details regarding vaccination distribution, sometime during the first week of January.

What is known at present is that both the Telluride Medical Center and the Uncompahgre Medical Center in Norwood will collaborate with San Miguel County Public Health to reach high-risk individuals. The efforts will rely on comprehensive databases maintained by both clinics but there will be protocols in place to identify and include high-risk individuals who may slip through the cracks.

Those who are age 75 and older or who have documented high-risk factors could expect a phone call, email or text in the coming weeks.

San Miguel County Public Health will lead identification of, and communication to, the essential workforce.

“The task ahead is mammoth but we’re prepared and poised for success. I know it’s asking a lot, but please be patient and on standby for additional information. We will get to everyone who seeks a vaccine and it will be free of cost.”

Dr. Grundy is cautiously optimistic that if vaccine shipments continue as planned, there will be vaccines available to the general public this spring or early summer.

Even as the vaccine rolls out, it is imperative that residents and visitors follow Level Red protocol and diligently adhere to the Five Commitments of Containment:

8 things to know about the covid-19 vaccine

We ask that you please do not call the Telluride Regional Medical Center with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

We are not keeping a waiting list for the vaccine. We will continue to release information as we have it and will find ways to ensure the vaccine is distributed equitably throughout every phase of distribution. 

We understand this is a stressful time, please continue to be patient and kind, and remember, we are all in this together.